Tesla Earnings Smash Expectations After Dramatic Change In Reporting Methodology | Zero Hedge

Oct 26, 2016 4:26 PM 0 SHARES There was a sudden burst of confusion heading into today's Tesla earnings. As Bloomberg reported , a change in the way Tesla Motors Inc. will report quarterly results after today’s market close has created a bit of a last-minute headache for analysts, with earnings estimates varying widely. The electric-car maker is phasing out most of the non-GAAP adjustments it’s traditionally made, including ones for resale value guarantees or vehicles leased through banking partners. Starting today, when the company discusses third-quarter adjusted non-GAAP earnings per share, it plans to exclude only stock-based compensation. The SEC in recent months has raised concern that public companies may be straying too far too often from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Though Tesla has telegraphed its plan for weeks, many analysts are only now revising forecast models and some are sitting out the guessing game entirely this time. That means it may be challenging to draw firm conclusions about whether Tesla missed or beat Wall Street expectations - giving added importance to what Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk says on a follow-up conference call about cash or production plans. So heading into today's earnings, the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts stands at an adjusted loss of 54 cents a share, based on seven forecasts that have comparable methodologies that the firms say take the new practice into account. While all seven of those projected a loss, there are others who say the company may post a profit. Well, those who expected a profit got just that, because momnets ago Tesla not only reported revenue of $2.3 billion, far higher than the $1.9 billion expected, but also reported its first quarterly profit of $74 cents, smashing consensus estimate of a 54 cent loss. Since there will be much confusion over how these numbers make any sense, here is what the company said: Starting this quarter, our financial releases no longer include the non-GAAP revenue disclosures that we historically provided. To simplify our financial reporting, we add back non-cash stock-based compensation (SBC) to calculate non-GAAP results. Consistent with previous quarters, non-GAAP automotive gross margin will also exclude ZEV credit sales. Total Q3 GAAP revenue was $2.30 billion, up 145% from Q3 2015, while total Q3 gross margin was 27.7%, compared to 21.6% in Q2. Total automotive revenue was $2.15 billion on a GAAP basis, up 152% from Q3 2015. Our final Q3 delivery count was 24,821, over 300 more than the estimated delivery count we shared on October 2nd. Deliveries increased 114% from the third quarter of 2015, and was comprised of 16,047 Model S and 8,774 Model X vehicles. In addition, 5,065 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These vehicles will be delivered in Q4. Our Q3 GAAP net income was $22 million, or $0.14 per share on 157 million diluted shares, while our non-GAAP net income was $111 million, or $0.71 per share on a diluted basis, after adding back $90 million of SBC. Both figures include an $0.08 per share loss of other expense, net, primarily related to foreign currency transactions and the conversion of most of our 2018 convertible notes. Confused? So are we, and sadly charting the results does not help: And here are the company's GAAP revenues: Alas, even looking at the company's cash flow does not provide much apples to apples color. Here's why: We hope that Elon Musk can provide some clarity on just what is going on here, because Wall Street has no idea. * * * Going back to its core business, said that its final Q3 delivery count was 24,821, over 300 more than the estimated delivery count we shared on October 2nd. " Deliveries increased 114% from the third quarter of 2015, and was comprised of 16,047 Model S and 8,774 Model X vehicles. In addition, 5,065 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These vehicles will be delivered in Q4." It added the following: During the quarter, we opened 17 new stores and service centers to increase our customer support network to 250 locations globally. We believe new product variants such as the P100DL, additional Model X seating variants, new product capabilities such as Enhanced Autopilot and hardware for Full Self-Driving Capability, Autopilot 8.0 software, and new store and service center openings should continue to drive strong vehicle order growth. The company also said that it had "achieved record production levels in Q3, rising to 25,185 vehicles for an increase of 37% from Q2 and an increase of 92% from Q3 last year" TSLA said 4Q deliveries were “just over” 25k, had 3Q deliveries of 24.5k, forecast 2H deliveries of 50k. The company also said that the Model 3 remains on plan for volume deliveries in second half of 2017. Here is the full outlook: We maintain our guidance of 50,000 new vehicle deliveries for the second half of 2016, with a Q4 plan of just over 25,000 deliveries, despite the challenges of winter weather and the holiday season. We expect about 30% to 35% of these deliveries to be accounted for as leases for revenue recognition purposes. As previously provided in our second quarter update, we guided a 2 to 3 percentage points improvement in automotive gross margin on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis by the end of 2016. Automotive gross margin on a non-GAAP basis excludes ZEV credits and SBC. We are on track to meet this guidance. We also guided in our second quarter update that full year 2016 operating expenses, both on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis, would grow approximately 30% from 2015. We are also on track to meet this guidance. We now expect our capital expenditures in 2016 will be approximately $1.8 billion as we continue to focus on capital efficiency. Capital expenditures for the past three quarters totaled $759 million. While an apples-to-apples analysis is clearly missing the report, for now the algos love the headline, and have sent the stock surging after hours.

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