• Tesla on Wednesday reported a surprise first-quarter profit despite factory shutdowns due to the coronavirus.
  • The company’s stock price spiked as much as 8% in after-hours trading following the news. 
  • Semi deliveries will be delayed to 2021, Tesla said, as it ramps up Model Y production.
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Tesla turned a surprise profit in the first-quarter of 2020, the electric car company said Wednesday, despite being forced to close its main factory due to the coronavirus.

Here are the important figures:

  • Adjusted earnings per share (EPS): $1.24 versus an expected loss of $0.34
  • Revenue:  $5.99 billion versus an expected $5.8 billion 

“Despite global operational challenges, we were able to achieve our best first quarter for both production and deliveries,” the company said. However, the company said Tesla Semi deliveries would be delayed to 2021 as it focuses on scaling up Model Y production. 

Tesla’s stock price spiked as much as 8% in late trading following the release. Shares of the company were down about 13% from their recent highs at Wednesday’s close, mirroring a similar selloff in wider equity indexes.

The profit was fueled in part by growing margins thanks to increasing production at Tesla’s Shanghai factory, it said. Ancillary revenue from regulatory credits, which Tesla sells to traditional automakers, also increased from $133 million in Q4 2019 to $354 million in Q1.

Model Y deliveries also began in the first quarter, “significantly ahead of schedule,” Tesla said, noting that the newest model was contributing profit. The company has not disclosed sales figures for the Model Y. 

Tesla previously released its first-quarter production and delivery figures at the beginning of the month, which largely topped analyst expectations, despite factory shut downs affected the latter half of the quarter.

On a conference call scheduled for Wednesday evening, analysts and investors will likely have questions about the company’s cash position going forward given that there’s still no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic. Tesla has furloughed many workers in an effort to cut costs as production lines remain idle.

“Tesla (and every auto manufacturer) continues to navigate an unprecedented COVID-19 sales environment that has temporarily closed its flagship Fremont factory and forced the company to make tough decisions such as furloughs and salary cuts to limit near term cash burn and red ink,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said in a note to clients this week.

In recent days, Musk has seemed agitated at the continued shutdown. “FREE AMERICA NOW,” the billionaire said on Twitter, his usual medium, Tuesday night, along with a Wall Street Journal op-ed suggesting lockdowns aren’t effective.

Tesla reiterated in Wednesday’s release that the reopening of shuttered lines remains in flux. 

“For our US factories, it remains uncertain how quickly we and our suppliers will be able to ramp production after resuming operations,” it said. “We are coordinating closely with each supplier and associated government.”