Tesla Inc (TSLA.O reported a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit as a string of price increases; on its electric vehicles (EVs) helped offset production challenges caused by COVID-19 lockdowns in China.
Tesla does not have a demand problem, but a production problem, Musk told a conference call. The U.S. price of Tesla’s Model Y long-range version, now $65,990, is up more than 30% since the start of 2021.
Shares of Tesla were up about 1% in after-hours trade. The shares are down about 40% from their peak in November.
Tesla executives acknowledged some continuing tightness in supplies of older-generation microchips; but said there were no major problems in supplies of chips and batteries barring unforeseen COVID-related shutdowns. The EV maker posted an adjusted profit of $2.27 per share for the quarter versus analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.81. This was down from $3.22 in the preceding quarter.
Its automotive gross margin fell to 27.9%, down from a year earlier and the preceding quarter, amid inflationary pressure.
BITCOIN TO CASH
Tesla said it had converted approximately 75% of its bitcoin purchases into fiat currency. Which added $936 million of cash to its balance sheet.
Musk said the sale was made to increase liquidity when Tesla was uncertain about how long the COVID lockdown in China would continue. Tesla has not sold any of its holdings of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency.
Musk had said in May last year that Tesla would not sell its bitcoin. The bitcoin losses point out an important part of the Tesla investment case – its eccentric owner. While Musk’s impressive innovation has served the company well, his personal flair is starting to raise governance questions,” said Laura Hoy, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.