Tesla posts small 4Q profit but misses Wall Street estimates

DETROIT - Tesla eked out a small fourth-quarter profit to close 2018, but fell short of Wall Street estimates. Now it faces the difficult task of sustaining profits while facing a major debt payment amid slowing demand for pricier versions of its electric vehicles.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla posted net income of $139.48 million, or 78 cents per share, from October through December. It reported two straight quarterly net profits for the first time since going public in 2010.

Excluding one-time items, Tesla made $2 per share, but analysts polled by FactSet expected $2.20.

For the full year, the company lost $976.09 million, or $5.72 per share. Without one-time items, the loss was $1.33 per share, better than estimates of $1.24.

Fourth-quarter revenue more than doubled from a year ago to $7.23 million, beating estimates of $7.12 billion. The company said its cash position improved by $1.45 million during the quarter despite repaying $230 million in convertible notes.

The quarterly profit was less than half of the $311.5 million the company earned in the third quarter.

Tesla wrote in a note to investors that it expects to deliver 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles this year, a growth rate of 45 per cent to 65 per cent compared with 2018.

Shares of Tesla, which rose nearly 4 per cent Wednesday, went up another 0.2 per cent to $309 in after-hours trading.


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