Tesla Q1 earnings report to put spotlight on 2021 deliveries target
Tesla Q1 earnings report to put spotlight on 2021 deliveries target

Tesla (TSLA) is set to report first-quarter earnings after market close on Monday, with the results coming just weeks after the company posted record deliveries during the first three months of 2021 that handily exceeded expectations.

Wall Street will be closely monitoring Tesla's report and earnings call for its new 2021 full-year delivery target, updates on facilities in progress in Berlin and Texas, and the ramp-up of production at the company's Shanghai Gigafactory.

Here are the main results the Street is expecting to see from Tesla's report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

Q1 Revenue: $10.42 billion expected vs. $5.99 billion Y/Y

Q1 Adjusted earnings per share: 80 cents expected vs. 23 cents Y/Y

Earlier in April, Tesla reported first-quarter vehicle deliveries that set a record at 184,800, with the vast majority comprised of the more affordable Models 3 and Y. The record number of hand-overs came even as Tesla and the broader auto industry contended with a protracted semiconductor shortage, and ongoing disruptions stemming from COVID-19.

The results bode well for the electric vehicle-maker's first-quarter operating results, which will likely also serve as the forum for Tesla to unveil its full-year delivery target. Last year, it delivered just under half a million vehicles, coming up just short of Wall Street's estimates at the time.

Commentary around the ramp-up of production at Tesla's existing Shanghai Gigafactory, and the start of production at the company's forthcoming Berlin and Texas hubs, will also be in focus.

In late January's earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he expected both of these facilities to start production later this year, helping the company hit its long-term compounded annual growth rate in deliveries target of 50%.

To date, many analysts on Wall Street have viewed demand out of China as a key force behind the company's winning streak. The company does not break out deliveries or sales by geography, but Wedbush analyst Dan Ives has suggested China could comprise some 40% of Tesla's total global deliveries as soon as next year.

In spite of stiffening competition from the likes of General Motors (GM) and Nio (NIO), "Tesla continues to see growing pent-up demand throughout China and Europe, with the U.S. on the verge of seeing a further inflection in demand in our opinion once the EV tax credit ceiling is lifted," Ives wrote in a note last week.

He cited the beneficial impact of the Biden administration's incentives as "green tidal wave" that may boost Tesla.

"While Tesla has navigated a myriad of Chinese government PR issues, chip shortages, and a further spotlight on its auto pilot safety record (given the Texas crash) over the past month, the Street is now laser focused on gauging the annual delivery trajectory for 2021 heading into next week's main event which we expect to drive the stock much higher over the coming months," he added.

The company may also address the ongoing investigations by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board over a deadly crash involving a Tesla Model S vehicle earlier this month in Texas, which was believed to have occurred without anyone in the driver's seat.

The crash put a spotlight back on safety concerns around Tesla's full self-driving and autopilot assistance features, which the company has cautioned on its website "require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous." Musk has said company data logs show neither autopilot not full-self driving were enabled on the vehicle during the crash.

The role of cryptocurrency in Tesla's future strategy will also likely be a focal point in Monday's report and call. The company disclosed in February that it purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin, and began accepting the cryptocurrency as a method of payment for its vehicles in late March.

Shares of Tesla have risen 3.4% for the year-to-date through Friday's close, underperforming against the S&P 500's 11% rise over that time period.


Nathan George

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