Tesla Motors reported its first annual profit Wednesday, but shares fell after Elon Musk’s electric car company scored lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.
Tesla, a soaring stock for much of the last year, reported 2020 profits of $721 million, reflecting the company’s strong ramp-up in production and deliveries despite a hit from Covid-19. Tesla had reported a 2019 loss of $862 million.
Revenues for 2020 jumped 28 percent to $31.5 billion.
“This past year was transformative for Tesla,” the company said in its earnings report.
“Despite unforeseen global challenges, we outpaced many trends seen elsewhere in the industry as we significantly increased volumes, profitability and cash generation.”
Tesla said that 2020 was a “critical year” for the company but 2021 “will be even more important” as the company escalates output at its China factory and targets first production at new plants now being built in Germany and the US state of Texas.
In the fourth quarter, the company reported profits of $270 million, up 157 percent from the year-ago period on a 46 percent rise in revenues to $10.7 billion.
That translated into profits of 80 cents per share, below the $1.01 projected by analysts.
The company did not offer detailed 2021 forecasts for sales or profit.
In terms of volume, “over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50 percent average growth in vehicle deliveries,” Tesla said. “In some years we may grow faster, which we expect to be the case in 2021.”
Shares were down 4.5 percent at $824.90 in after-hours trading.