Please, Tesla, Show Me the Money


No doubt Tesla Motors stock got quite a charge after announcing the company's first-ever profit – a 24% jump between market close on Wednesday and market close on Thursday, and by Friday morning it leapt a further 13%.

I can imagine the Tesla team in the boardroom spraying champagne over themselves at the investors' buying frenzy. And I can see them thumbing their noses at the nay-saying short sellers.

But I have been staring at Tesla's income statement and I just cannot make the company's proclaiming a profit of $15 million coincide with my own concept of fiscal reality.

First off, the income statement shows an operating loss of $5.6 million dollars. After adding back in "other income" of $17.1 million and accounting for interest earned, interest paid, and provision for income tax, we get a net profit of $11.2 million.

There is nothing on the income statement showing a profit of $15 million.

Not only that, but the "other income" item includes $10.7 million from the one-time elimination of the Department of Energy's common stock warrant liability. Take that away and we're left with a profit of $0.5 million.

Then take away the "$6.4 million of favorable foreign currency exchange impact" and there is a loss of $5.9 million.

The company itself says that, using GAAP rules, net profit per share is $0.00.

And, as my father used to say, twice zero is still zero.

Near-faultless execution has led Tesla Motors to the brink of success, but the road ahead remains a hard one. Despite progress, a looming question remains: Will Tesla be able to fend off its big-name competitors? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

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Motley Fool contributor Dan Radovsky has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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