Tesla Blasts Earnings Forecast on Record Deliveries, Improving Margins

Tesla's automotive margins improved to 26.5% while record first quarter deliveries lifted revenues past $10.3 billion.
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Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Monday thanks in part to surging deliveries in China, notching its seventh-consecutive quarterly profit and forecasting late 2021 launches for planned gigafactories in the U.S. and Germany.

Check out Eric Jhonsa's live blog of Tesla's first quarter earnings. 

Tesla said non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in March were pegged at 93 cents per share, well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 79 cents per share and compared to a pre-split tally of $1.24 share over the same period last year. Automotive profit margins also impressed, rising 100 basis points to 26.5%.

Group revenues, Tesla said, rose 74.3% from last year to $10.39 billion, just ahead of analysts' forecasts of a $10.3 billion tally. Regulatory credit sales Revenues, Tesla said, rose 46.3% from last year to $518 million. 

"In Q1, we achieved our highest ever vehicle production and deliveries," Tesla said. "This was in spite of multiple challenges, including seasonality, supply chain instability and the transition to the new Model S and Model X. Our GAAP net income reached $438M, and our non-GAAP net income surpassed $1 billion for the first time in our history."  

Tesla shares, which closed at $738.20 each after rising 1.21% on the session -- helping power the Nasdaq to an all-time closing high -- were marked 2.25% lower in after-hours trading to indicate a Tuesday opening bell price of $721.70 each.

Earlier this month, Tesla said it delivered 184,800 new cars over the three months ended in March, a record total that included the production of 180,338 Model 3s and Model Ys.

China accounted for around 37.5% of that total, with the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) showing the first-quarter tally of 69,280 units sold in the world's largest car market following the launch of its Shanghai gigafactory in 2019.

Tesla said new gigafactories in Berlin and Austin will likely come online later this year, but provided few details as to when -- and at what rate -- production would begin, apart from Elon Musk telling investors that 2021 output would be "limited". 

The group said it ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of around $17.1 billion, a figure that was reduced by its first quarter purchase of $1.2 billion in bitcoin. 

Tesla remains the most actively shorted stock on the S&P 500, according to data from S3 partners, with $35 billion in bets against it representing around 6% of the total float.