Tesla’s shares soar on Q4 performance, production forecast jumps

Electric car maker expects to ship more than 35,000 Model S sedans in 2014, a 55% jump from 2013.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Tesla Motors Inc. shares soared in extended trading after the electric car maker delivered a strong fourth-quarter performance and said that it expects sales of its vehicles to increase sharply this year.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company said it expects to deliver more than 35,000 of its Model S sedans in 2014, up 55% from last year.

That compares with a forecast from an industry analyst at Barclays that the company would produce 29,800 in 2014.

Tesla investors focus heavily on the car maker’s forecasts as demand has outstripped its supply in the past. The company said battery cell supply will continue to constrain its production but expects that should improve in the second half of the year.

It had previously said that its sales in the October-December period were the highest in its history, with almost 6,900 Model S delivered. That was well ahead of the just over 5,500 it sold in the July-September period.

The Model S, which starts at $70,000 and can go up to 300 miles on a battery charge, is Tesla’s only vehicle on the market right now.

Tesla posted a loss of $16.3 million for the fourth quarter versus a loss of $89.9 million in the prior year.

Tesla, which argues that these figures do not reflect its true performance because accounting rules limit how it records revenue for leases, earned 33 cents per share on an adjusted basis. That far surpassed analyst expectations of 23 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue more than doubled to $615.2 million from $306.3 million. Analysts had forecast $683.9 million.

Tesla got a boost for the quarter from improved margins thanks to lower costs and said that it expects those gains will continue as volume grows. It also expects to cut costs for batteries in coming years through a new production facility.

The company’s stock jumped $23.01, or 12%, to $216.65 in after-hours trading following the announcement.

©The Canadian Press