×

Jim Chanos: I'm Short Tesla

Famed short-seller Jim Chanos, Kynikos Associates, went on the record Wednesday revealing that he's shorting Tesla Motors. Chanos announcing his short on the heels of news today that two key executive are departing the company.


Jim Chanos
Stephen Desaulniers | CNBC
Jim Chanos

"One of our historical sign posts, of a company in trouble is when numbers of senior people leave over a short period of time," Chanos said, "Tesla fits that bill."

While these departures reinforced Chanos' bearish thesis on the company, he believes the core problem for Tesla is the real profitability of the business.

"This is a company that can't forecast its deliveries one quarter out," Chanos said from the 21st annual Sohn Conference in New York City. "Yet, everybody is confident about what they're going to make in 2020 or 2025."

But troubles at Tesla don't stop at car production for Chanos, as the outspoken bearish investor took a critical stance on the company's "powerwall" battery products and the planned "gigafactory" in Nevada.

Shares of Tesla have rallied over 50 percent off their February lows, but are still in bear-market territory; off 22 percent from their recent 52-week highs.

"This is a company that can't forecast its deliveries one quarter out" -Jim Chanos, Kynikos Associates founder

He's also currently short shares of SolarCity, another one of Elon Musk's public ventures.

"They're losing money on every installation and making it up on volume and that's a problem when you have a levered balance sheet," Chanos said. "I think SolarCity gets into financial trouble in 2016."

Chanos has been a long-standing critic of SolarCity's residential leasing model, first raising his concerns and a short position on CNBC's "The Halftime Report" in August 2015.

SolarCity shares have fallen roughly 41 percent since that announcement.