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Tesla Sees First Quarterly Profits

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Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA - Free Report) is on cloud nine now. The “green” automaker reported its first-ever quarterly profit of $15.4 million, or 12 cents per share, on an adjusted basis, in the first quarter of 2013 compared with a loss of $79.3 million or 76 cents in the corresponding quarter of 2012. This indicates a whopping positive earnings surprise of 271.4% given the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 7 cents for the quarter.

Revenues jumped manifold to $561.8 million from $30.2 million in the first quarter of 2012. Thanks to the impressive 5,000 units of Model S electric car sales during the quarter.

The automaker continued to supply full electric powertrains and battery packs to Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Free Report) for their RAV4 EV program. It also completed various deliverables under Daimler’s (DDAIF - Free Report) Mercedes Benz B-Class EV program, which contributed to total development services revenues of nearly $7 million.

Although, total gross margin decreased to 17.1% from 33.8% a year ago but rose from 7.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to higher Model S production rate, manufacturing efficiencies, cost reduction measures and regulatory credit sales.

Tesla had cash and cash equivalents of $214.4 million as of Mar 31, 2013 compared with $201.9 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Inventories declined 11.7% to $237.6 million from $268.5 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Long-term debt declined 2.8% to $439.6 million from $452.3 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

In the quarter, Tesla’s cash flow from operations improved to $64.1 million compared with cash flow use of $63.3 million in the first quarter of 2012. Capital expenditures increased 5.4% to $57.7 million $54.8 million a year ago.

Tesla expects to manufacture 5,000 Model S vehicles in the second quarter of the year. For full year 2013, the company expects to deliver 21,000 Model S cars globally, up 5% from its prior guidance of 20,000 units.

Tesla also plans to spend about $200 million as capital expenditures in 2013, as it concludes the majority of investments in the Tesla Factory and Model S tooling. Capital expenditures also includes the expansion of services, store development, Supercharger networks and new product development.

Currently, shares of Tesla retain a Zacks Rank #3, which implies a short-term (one to three months) Hold rating. Currently, Peugeot S.A. with Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) is performing well in the global automotive industry.

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