Shares of Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker led by Elon Musk, rose the most in almost three months after the company’s third-quarter revenue exceeded analysts’ estimates as Model S production accelerates.
The shares increased 8.9 percent to $31.50, according to preliminary closing figures Monday — the biggest intraday gain since Aug. 7.
Revenue declined 13 percent from a year earlier to $50.1 million, the Palo Alto, California-based company said Monday in a statement. The average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $45.8 million. Excluding some items, Tesla’s loss was 92 cents a share, matching the average estimate.
“The market is reacting more because results weren’t worse than the expectations,” Ben Schuman, a Pacific Crest Securities analyst in Portland, Oregon, said in an interview. “They’re ahead in terms of Model S production in the third quarter, though by not by too much.” He rates Tesla sector perform.
The carmaker named for inventor Nikola Tesla is racing to expand production of the rechargeable Model S at its Fremont, California, plant, after saying in September that 2012 deliveries wouldn’t reach an initial 5,000-unit goal. Tesla has said that next year it will build at least 20,000 of the cars, which start at $57,400, and add the Model X electric sport- utility vehicle in 2014.
The company’s net loss widened to $110.8 million, or $1.05 a share, from $65.1 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter includes both the Model S and battery packs and motors for use in shareholder Toyota Motor Corp.’s electric RAV4 SUV.
“Tesla is really past the point of high risk,” Musk, 41, said on a conference call. Model S production will be at a 20,000-unit annual rate “within four to five weeks,” he said.
The company said full-year sales will be as much as $440 million, reaffirming an earlier forecast.
“Several months ago I said that the coming several months would be the test for Tesla -- the classic phrase is to go through the valley of death,” said Musk, who also leads rocket launch company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and is Tesla’s biggest shareholder. “I feel as though we’re through that valley at this point.”
Tesla is preparing to supply components for a new Mercedes- Benz model with Daimler AG, which is also an investor in the California company.
Tesla built about 350 vehicles in the quarter and delivered 253 Model S sedans and 68 units of the discontinued Roadster sports car.
The carmaker got 2,900 new reservations for the Model S during the quarter, a 30 percent increase from a year earlier. While cancellations also rose, Tesla said net reservations grew to 13,200 vehicles from 11,500 at the end of the second quarter.
During the quarter, the company completed drawing down the $465 million in U.S. Energy Department loans awarded in 2009 to develop and produce its electric vehicles. Tesla said today that it “pre-funded” a second loan payment in October “related to principal and interest due in March of next year.”
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