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Tesla (TSLA) after Elon’s ‘Master Plan’: Wall Street wants to see the money [Analyst Notes]

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Elon Musk’s ‘Master Plan Part 2’ is still hot off from the press and Wall Street is already asking to see the money. With the new product plan, Tesla is expanding the list of industries it plans to disrupt, but that will come at a cost.

The company is just coming out of a $2.3 billion secondary stock offering ($1.7 billion in net proceeds) to primarily finance the Model 3 program and the needed $1.2 billion Fremont factory expansion, but now Musk added a pickup truck, a heavy-duty truck, and a bus, among other things, to Tesla’s product lineup.

While Wall Street seems mostly happy with the plan, several analysts covering Tesla are asking how the company plans to finance the new programs and expect more capital raise on the public market.

I’m not sure what they were expecting. Musk didn’t elaborate on financing in the first part of his plan other than outlining his plan for luxury vehicles paying for the development of increasingly less expensive cars – so I wasn’t expecting much more on the finance side for the second part of the ‘Master Plan’.

Yet , it’s the recurring theme in the notes issued by analysts today regarding the plan. Here are some of the them (via The Street):

Rod Lache, Deutsche Bank (Hold, $290 PT)
The document is relatively short on details, and it does not contain any economic or financial objectives (these will be needed eventually, as capital markets will be called upon to provide a key “material” for the execution of this plan)… At a high level none of these objectives are surprising. Parts of these plans have all been floated in the past. And while it goes without saying that all aspects of the plan involve very high levels of execution risk, we continue to find the “Tesla Motors” plans, which are encompassed in Parts 2, 3, and 4, as innovative and potentially compelling. We continue to work on better appreciating whether Solar is in fact a “good” business for Tesla shareholders (To be clear, we are not yet convinced of this: The business has, and will continue to consume significant amounts of capital; The NPVs ascribed to SCTY’s projects are highly dependent on government incentives and they are presented using relatively low discount rates; Valuation metrics used by TSLA investors appear to be quite different than those used by SCTY investors).

Rod Lache is ranked #141 out of 4,073 analysts on Tip Ranks with a 63% success rate and an average return of 16.1%.

Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley (Equal-weight, $245 PT)
In addition to being an automaker, Tesla is a crowd-funded R&D innovation effort focused on transforming two of the world’s largest markets: Energy and Transportation. Given the company’s rate of cash consumption, to put this innovation into action, Tesla must fund the plan with large amounts of external capital. Tesla management have demonstrated a strong ability to convince investors of the validity and scope of its business and technological ambition. The expansion of business scope announced last night is very significant, likely requiring substantial deployment of capital and potentially many years of upfront losses to see to fruition…Absorbing the losses at SCTY while funding its further expansion could likely add a further investment burden on top of all that. These are big markets and we understand they require large capital investments, time and execution risk to address…We do not have enough detail from Tesla to offer any specific analysis or observations of their shared/autonomous services at this time…We’d say the Master Plan Part Deux is pretty darn down the middle of the fairway of our expectations. With one exception: Tesla Semi. We did not see that coming at all. Commercial vehicle transport is a very different end market, with different customers, engineering demands, vehicle demands and infrastructure.

Adam Jonas is ranked #405 out of 4,073 analysts on Tip Ranks with a 47% success rate and an average return of 9.8%.

Joseph Spak, RBC Capital Markets (Sector Perform, $210 PT)
Musk believes combined TSLA/SCTY can better create and scale an integrated solar/storage product enabling distributed energy. Better design, one ordering experience/installation/service contract similar to initial justification. Did mention Tesla now ready to scale Powerwall suggesting further improvement (and potentially a new iteration)… Of note no lower cost vehicle below Model 3. Improving and scaling production critical and Musk again talks about the “factory as a product” suggesting a 5-10x improvement in what we know about automotive production by 2022. The true incremental products are electric heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Early stage development has occurred and unveiling could be next year. Unclear how this gets funded or why/if Tesla needs to own this given smaller volumes and company’s other ambitions. Tesla claims the HD truck can substantially reduce cost of cargo transport. We need to better understand the cost/economics…While this is first formalization of Tesla Mobility, we don’t believe a huge surprise though sounds like timing could be further out than bulls appreciated.

Joseph Spak is ranked #2,362 out of 4,073 analysts on Tip Ranks with a 44% success rate and an average return of 0.2%.

Colin Rusch, Oppenheimer (Perform, no PT)
While we are believers in the growing value and importance of sustainability and broad societal efficiency, we are cautious that the financial needs of TSLA’s growing scope will limit stock performance…We continue to be cautious on returns available to TSLA shareholders via its move into electricity generation. We see a highly regulated industry with limits on financial returns that is going through a replacement cycle and associated political battles. While we are bullish on solar and storage growth, we believe TSLA has better opportunities to allocate capital…The ultimate business model appears to be a multi-channel ride sharing platform with unclear capital needs…More likely, in our view, TSLA will access public markets to support these initiatives. We believe 2016 is a critical year for TSLA to prove financial performance and maintain investor confidence.

Colin Rusch is ranked #416 out of 4,038 analysts on Tip Ranks with a 46% success rate and an average return of 9.7%.

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