Strong quarterly figures
Tesla record profit brings Elon Musk a multi-billion bonus
Electric car maker Tesla has exceeded expectations with strong quarterly figures. Elon Musk also benefits from this personally – he can look forward to a hefty bonus.
Most recently, Elon Musk caused a sensation with his $43 billion purchase offer for Twitter. Now the already richest man in the world can look forward to a few billion on the income side. Musk is eligible for a $23 billion bonus thanks to strong quarterly earnings from his electric car company Tesla.
Musk does not receive a regular salary for his job as Tesla boss, but is paid in stock options from the company. These become due if Tesla achieves certain corporate targets. And things are looking extremely good: Despite global supply chain problems and pandemic-related production disruptions in China, Tesla set new records for profit and revenue at the beginning of the year.
In the three months to the end of March, sales increased by 81 percent year-on-year to $ 18.8 billion (17.3 billion euros), as the group announced on Wednesday after the US stock market closed. Tesla earned a bottom line of $ 3.3 billion – that was 658 percent more than a year ago.
Tesla results better than expected
The results were significantly better than expected on Wall Street. The stock rose by almost 5 percent in after-hours trading. Although the global auto industry is suffering from persistent shortages of computer chips, for example, Tesla brought 310,048 e-cars to customers in the first quarter – an increase of 68 percent year-on-year and a new record. In March, the group opened its first car plant in Europe near Berlin. Production there, however, has to be really ramped up first.
Tesla did not provide any specific information about the schedule for the Grünheide factory. In the long term, around 500,000 e-cars are to roll off the assembly line there every year, but the company is still a long way from that. In a conference call with analysts and investors, Musk said only that the expansion of production will be supported by a team of experienced employees and that the company has learned a lot from the start of production of the Model Y at its US headquarters in Fremont and in Shanghai. That should now make the process in Berlin and also in the new US car plant in Austin, Texas easier.
Despite the strong numbers, Tesla warned of ongoing difficulties. Global supply chain issues are likely to persist for the remainder of the year. Musk said that component supply inflation is underestimated – some suppliers have increased prices by 20 to 30 percent. In the past quarter, Tesla also suffered from production outages at its car factory in Shanghai due to a Covid lockdown in China. Operations there have now started again, but Tesla has now announced that the situation must be monitored very closely.
Only Ferrari is more profitable
Despite these burdens, the group earns more and more. According to calculations by industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, Tesla is now the world’s most profitable carmaker after the luxury manufacturer Ferrari. In the first quarter, Musk’s company achieved a profit margin of 19.2 percent – the highest margin for automakers that sell more than 15,000 vehicles. “With the new plants in Austin and Berlin and the high level of profitability, Tesla will dominate the car market of tomorrow,” says Dudenhöffer.
Trading in pollution rights, which other car manufacturers need to improve their emissions balance, once again proved to be a lucrative business for the company. In the first quarter, Tesla had a turnover of 679 million dollars – more than twice as much as in the previous quarter. Tesla’s bitcoin holdings have remained flat and were last reported at $1.26 billion. Tesla invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoins last year, but then sold part of it again.
During the analyst call, Musk was also asked about his plans to develop a futuristic-looking “robotaxis” recently presented at the Austin plant opening. The Tesla boss promised a product presentation in the coming year, and series production could begin in 2024. The “Robotaxi” will be a “massive growth driver” for Tesla. However, many details of the model remain open. In the past, Musk had suggested that Tesla owners could make their cars available to others as autonomous taxis when they weren’t using them themselves. However, the dates he gave for such a “Tesla Network” passed.