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Tesla Motors (TSLA) Posts Wider Than Expected 4Q Loss; Shares Off

 February 20, 2013 04:36 PM

(By Balaseshan) Electric vehicles maker Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported a wider quarterly loss due to higher costs and expenses. Despite revenue exceeding consensus, adjusted loss was wider than Street's expectations, sending its shares down 3.26% in aftermarket.

Loss for the fourth quarter widened to $89.93 million or $0.79 per share from $81.49 million or $0.78 per share last year. Adjusted loss per share narrowed to $0.65 from $0.69.

Revenue climbed to $306.33 million from $39.38 million, as Tesla said it saw strong demand for options such as the Performance version and Tech Package. Automotive sales jumped to $294.38 million from $32.68 million.

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Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a loss of $0.53 per share on revenue of $298.40 million for the fourth quarter.

Operating expenses increased 29 percent.

In the third quarter of 2012, Tesla posted adjusted loss per share of $0.92 on revenue of $50.10 million.

Gross margin for Q4 was almost 8%, compared to negative 17% last quarter, as a result of a higher Model S production rate, the move to production prices for certain Model S parts, among others.

Tesla produced over 2,750 vehicles during the fourth quarter. The company has delivered about 2,400 Model S vehicles during the latest quarter.

"We plan to deliver about 20,000 Model S units in 2013. We expect to start the year with about 4,500 deliveries in Q1, as we gave the manufacturing team the first week of the year off to celebrate their accomplishments during 2012," Chief Executive Elon Musk and Finance Chief Deepak Ahuja said in a statement.

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The company expects first quarter material, labor and overhead costs to be substantially lower than in the fourth quarter of 2012, and for this trend to continue in 2013. As a result of these actions and the favorable impact of regulatory credits, Q1 gross margin is projected to improve to the mid-teens percentage range.

In the first quarter of 2013, Tesla expects to generate slightly positive net income, on a non-GAAP basis. The company also projects to be near break-even on cash flow from operations. These targets would be achieved through a combination of improved gross margin and lower R&D expenses.

TSLA closed Wednesday's regular session down 0.97% at $38.90. The stock has been trading between $25.52 and $40.00 for the past 52 weeks.

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