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UBS expects wider loss for Tesla; thinks Model S and X demand is slackening

  • UBS now expects wider quarterly and annual loss per share for Tesla.
  • The firm expects stock dilution in the future.
  • UBS says Q2 cash burn likely to be more than double Q1.
  • Reiterated sell rating.



An employee works on a Telsa Motors Model S sedan as it makes its way along an assembly line at company's assembly plant in Fremont, California.
Noah Berger | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee works on a Telsa Motors Model S sedan as it makes its way along an assembly line at company's assembly plant in Fremont, California.

UBS now expects a wider loss for Tesla's second quarter, citing the company's recent decline in quarterly vehicle deliveries.

In a note sent Wednesday, UBS analyst Colin Langan said he projects a loss per share for the period of $1.80, compared with an earlier estimate of $1.32 per share. His full-year estimate is now for a loss per share of $4.20, compared with $3.70 a share, due to a shortfall in vehicle deliveries.

Tesla announced in early July it had delivered just more than 22,000 vehicles in the second quarter, far below the 25,000 it delivered in the first. The company blamed the drop on a severe production shortfall of 100 kilowatt-hour battery packs, which are made with different technology than Tesla's smaller capacity packs.

Tesla did say later that in the final days of the quarter, 3,500 vehicles were in transit to their owners and would be counted along with third-quarter results.

But Langan said demand for the S and X models is slowing, given roughly flat production since the fourth quarter of 2016, the offering of the lower-priced 60D versions, the age of the Model S and rising inventory.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

Langan also expects capital expenditures to push Tesla's second-quarter cash burn to $1.4 billion, far above the roughly $620 million spent in the first quarter.

He said stock dilution is likely at some point, given the capital needed to deliver 2 million units in 10 years, which is what Langan thinks is priced into the stock.

Langan reiterated his sell rating on the stock and $185 price target. Tesla shares were up less than 1 percent to $342.72 midafternoon Wednesday.