Rabu, 7 Mei 2014

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Tesla outlook disappoints, shares drop 7%

Posted: 07 May 2014 07:41 PM PDT

DETROIT: Tesla Motors Inc, led by billionaire Elon Musk, on Wednesday offered an outlook for the second quarter that disappointed some investors, sending shares of the electric carmaker down more than 7% in after-hours trading.

Tesla posted a higher-than-expected Q1 operating profit and said its operating automotive gross margins in the current quarter would increase slightly. S&P Capital IQ analyst Efraim Levy called the outlook a disappointment, saying investors had hoped for something better.

The Palo Alto, California-based company reported a first quarter net loss of almost US$50mil, compared with its first quarterly profit a year ago.

Tesla said it would spend up to US$850mil this year to boost production capacity of its Model S luxury electric sedan, develop the Model X crossover vehicle and start construction of a new lithium-ion battery plant, dubbed the "gigafactory."

It said that would leave the company with a negative free cash flow for 2014.

Like other so-called momentum stocks, Tesla's shares have fallen recently and at the close of the market on Wednesday were down more than 20% from an all-time high of US$265 in mid-February.

In after-hours activity, Tesla shares traded at US$186.60, after closing at US$201.35.

The company said the project to begin production of lithium-ion batteries at the gigafactory is on course for 2017 and the plant should reach its full production rate in 2020.

"We have not yet finalised the ultimate location for the gigafactory, and we are going to start work on at least two locations in parallel in order to minimise risk of delays arising after groundbreaking," Musk said in a letter to shareholders posted online.

He later said on a conference call with analysts that the company would break ground at the first location probably next month, followed by the second site one to two months later.

The company has said it would choose the location for the plant from Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas, and Musk said on Wednesday that California was potentially back in the running but still improbable given the state's more onerous regulatory environment.

Tesla said in February it planned to raise US$1.6bil through convertible senior notes to finance the factory. Analysts have said it would require a capital infusion of US$5bil to US$6bil.


Musk said on Wednesday that Tesla had signed a letter of intent for the factory with battery supplier Panasonic Corp, but was still in talks with other potential partners. Executives expect the Panasonic deal to be finalised later this year.

Panasonic would be the only company producing battery cells in the gigafactory, but the supplier as well as other companies would ship in cells from other plants, Musk said.

Analysts have said Tesla needs to get the plans for the battery plant finalised soon if it wants to meet its 2017 production target.

Musk also said the company expects to begin selling Model X crossover vehicles in the second quarter of next year.

Excluding one-time items, Tesla earned US$17mil, or 12 cents a share, in the first quarter, two cents better than what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected. The results included a currency gain of US$6.7mil.

On a net basis, Tesla lost US$49.8mil, or 40 cents a share, compared with a profit last year of US$11.25mil, or 10 cents a share. Net revenue rose 10% from last year to almost US$621mil, while operating revenue was up 27% at US$713mil.

The first quarter included no revenue from zero-emission vehicle credit sales, as the company had forecast, and US$12mil in other environmental credit sales. In the same quarter last year, those totals were US$67.9mil and US$17.1mil, respectively.

Tesla said it delivered 6,457 Model S cars in the first quarter, slightly above the 6,400 it had forecast in February. It also reiterated its full-year delivery target of more than 35,000 cars, including a forecast of about 7,500 cars in the second quarter.

Tesla also said battery cell supply will still constrain company vehicle production in the second quarter but that situation should improve in the third quarter. The company said its production rate is now at almost 700 vehicles per week, up 15% from the end of the fourth quarter, and should rise to 1,000 per week by the end of 2014.

The company started selling Model S sedans in China last month and Musk said demand there was strong and the company would have to open a plant in that country within three to four years. – Reuters 

China April exports and imports up

Posted: 07 May 2014 07:25 PM PDT

BEIJING: China's exports rose 0.9% in April from a year earlier, while imports rose 0.8%, leaving the country with a trade surplus of US$18.5bil for the month, the Customs Administration said on Thursday.

That compared with market expectations in a Reuters poll of a 1.7% fall in exports, a 2.3% fall in imports and a trade surplus of US$13.9bil. – Reuters

Barclays to cut up to 20,000 jobs: reports

Posted: 07 May 2014 07:15 PM PDT

LONDON: Britain's scandal-hit Barclays bank is expected on Thursday to announce 20,000 job losses over the next three years in a major shake-up of its investment division, according to media reports.

Chief executive Antony Jenkins had already said that as many as 12,000 jobs worldwide would go this year out of a global workforce of about 139,000, but that could now be raised to 15,000, according to Sky News.

More than 6,000 positions at its investment operation will follow over the next two years as it looks to shift its focus to less risky areas of the market.

The bank announced a results statement last week that showed pre-tax profit at the investment arm dived 49% to £668mil (US$1.13bil) in the three months to March from a year earlier, hit by sliding revenue at its Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) trading business.

Around a quarter of the investment bank's 24,000 employees are expected to lose their jobs in total, according to reports by the Guardian, the BBC and Sky News.

Barclays is still seeking to fix a reputation badly damaged by its role in the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal of 2012, while it has also been probed along with other banks over possible manipulation of foreign exchange trade.

The bank is reshaping itself under Jenkins, who replaced Bob Diamond as chief executive in the wake of the Libor crisis.

Diamond, who headed the investment unit before becoming CEO, was one of the world's highest paid bankers before and after the global financial crisis and helped to turn Barclays into a global player in investment banking. – AFP 

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