Investing

UBS: Sell Tesla shares because carmaker will need to raise capital in the fourth quarter or earlier

Share
Key Points
  • UBS reaffirms its sell rating for Tesla shares, predicting the company will need to raise capital by year-end.
  • In April, Tesla said in a statement it did not require an additional capital raise this year apart from credit lines.
Elon Musk
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

One Wall Street firm disagrees with Elon Musk's view on Tesla's funding requirements.

UBS reaffirmed its sell rating for Tesla shares, predicting the company will need to raise capital by year-end.

In April Tesla said in a statement it did not require an additional capital raise this year apart from credit lines. Later that month Elon Musk also said on social media the company had "no need to raise money."

"The top concern from investors is not surprisingly the Model 3 production ramp. While this is critical, we believe there is not enough focus ... on liquidity, quality, and profitability," analyst Colin Langan said in a note to clients Wednesday. "To fund both its capex plans for the year ($3bn) and pay off [its] debt maturities, as well as keep its desired cash cushion of $1bn, we believe the company will have to raise capital by Q4 2018 or earlier."

Tesla shares fell 2.4 percent Thursday.

Langan reiterated his $195 price target for Tesla shares, representing 33 percent downside to Wednesday's close.

The analyst predicts the company will burn about $1.6 billion of cash in the first half of 2018 and end its second quarter with $1.8 billion of cash. He noted the company has approximately $500 million of debt due this year and $750 million of Gigafactory-related liabilities, which he estimates will reduce its cash balance to under $1 billion later this year.

"The market should not ignore fundamental headwinds that persist with regard to TSLA's Model 3 profitability, stationary storage, and solar," he said. "Moreover, we see additional capital raises as likely, particularly with any further Model 3 delays."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this story.

Disclaimer