Tesla Posts Worst-ever Quarterly Loss

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) just posted its worst-ever quarterly loss for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year. Its net loss increased to $675.4 million, or $4.01 per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $121.3 million, or 78 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. The loss was still not as wide as analysts were expecting. On an adjusted basis, the company lost $3.04 per share, less than the $3.12 per share loss predicted by analysts.

The company posted revenue that topped targets. Total revenue was $3.29 billion, up from $2.28 billion a year ago. This was just above the $3.28 billion expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Tesla ended the fourth quarter with $3.37 billion in cash, just below the $3.5 billion in the previous quarter.

Tesla said that net reservations for its Model 3 electric sedan were stable during the fourth quarter. Tesla only made 1,550 deliveries of the Model 3 in the fourth quarter, far below the 4,100 expected by analysts. The new sedan starts at $35,000, roughly half the price of Tesla’s flagship Model S.

Chief Executive Elon Musk revised the production targets for the new model in January. The company now expects to build 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of March. That number would increase to 5,000 by the end of the second quarter. He also maintained his goal to produce 1 million vehicles annually by 2020. However, Tesla has long had difficulty making accurate production forecasts.

Tesla spent $787 million in capital expenditures in the fourth quarter. Musk warned that spending would increase slightly this year. The higher spending would be due to expanded production at its Fremont factory and Nevada Gigafactory.

Shares of the company were barely changed in extended trading. Shares of Tesla have fallen 10 percent since September, but are up 10 percent from January. Tesla’s rising stock has now made the company the second-most valuable U.S. automaker, behind General Motors Co. The company’s market cap is currently $56.1 billion, up 35 percent from a year ago.