Tesla seeking cash from suppliers

Posted July 25, 2018

The memo notes the refund was essential for Tesla's survival and would be an investment in the company to ensure the long-term partnership between it and the suppliers.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. The newspaper said it was unclear how many companies had received the request. Tesla's cash burn, which was reduced to $1.1 billion on its most recent earnings report in May, will be top of mind when the company reports second quarter earnings on August 1.

The tech giant has been chasing profitability in recent months, after Musk promised the company would reach that target by the third or fourth quarter this year.

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Efraim Levy, a senior equity analyst for CFRA, said he found Tesla's request unusual. It suggested that all Tesla suppliers were being asked to make partial refunds, but some of the companies that the WSJ talked to denied any knowledge of such a request. In addition to boosting Model 3 production, Tesla in short order plans to build new factories in China and Europe and bring the Model Y sport-utility vehicle, a semi truck, pickup and roadster to market.

"I have never heard of that", Harbour said. "It sounds like something that happens when you're struggling".

However, the cost-cutting measures in general are seen to validate bearish concerns about Tesla's cash burn and need to raise capital, particularly after the firm laid off thousands as a means of preservation. One way to do that is by selling stock, which could send its share price lower still. But they said if Tesla has to try this hard to meet its target, it might be a self-defeating effort.

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"It's troubling", David Whiston, an analyst with Morningstar in Chicago, said in an interview on Monday as Tesla's stock declined, closing off 3.3 percent.

After the statement, Tesla shares bounced back, but were still down 2.7 percent.

The firm managed to hit its target of building 5,000 Model 3 cars a week at the start of this month - but only after building a giant plastic tent in the auto park of its California factory to house an extra production line.

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