- Tesla will report its final 2020 earnings report on Wednesday afternoon.
- It will likely be the company's first fiscal year of profitability.
- Tesla and its leader Elon Musk had a wildly successful 2020 amid the pandemic.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
2020 was by all measures a blowout for Tesla.
The company delivered its highest number of cars yet, missing Elon Musk's goal of 500,000 by a tiny margin, while its stock price climbed to astronomical levels.
And on Wednesday afternoon Tesla will fully close the books on 2020, likely marking the automaker's first fiscal year of profitability. Here's what Wall Street is expecting from the fourth-quarter earnings report:
- Revenue: $10.33 billion
- Earnings: $1.01 (adjusted) per share
Even if Tesla is able to top analyst expectations for the year, investors may not be rewarded with the usual rise in share price. That's thanks in part to Tesla's eye-popping 691% surge in the past year — which has even left Wall Street's brightest scratching their heads — as well as a less-rewarding market and increased focus on deliveries.
"While 4Q should be a relative blowout vs. Street expectations given the robust delivery numbers already reported coupled with more cost efficiency and tax credit tailwinds, all Street eyes are now on the delivery unit trajectory for Musk & Co. over the coming quarters," Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush who's garnered a reputation for his optimism about Tesla, said in a note to clients.
Ives expects Tesla to shoot for 750,000 deliveries in 2021 as new factories in Germany and Texas begin producing batteries and vehicles. However, other analysts — including those at UBS — say production at those new facilities may be limited depending on their full completion dates.
Investors will also have a close eye on regulatory tax credit sales, revenue from which have made up a hefty part of Tesla's five prior profitable quarters. Those credits are sold to other automakers that do not produce as many electric vehicles as Tesla, though the company provides little insight as to which.
Analysts are also excited about the prospect of newly refreshed models, and a higher mix of Model S and X vehicle sales, which could benefit Tesla's profit margins.
"The localized Model Y in China will be the key growth driver year-over-year," UBS analysts said. The country, which boasts the world's largest automotive market as well as a booming electric-vehicle industry, could be key to Tesla's continued success.
"The hearts and lungs of the Tesla bull thesis is centered around China as we have seen consumer demand ratchet up for 2021 with Model 3's, but also for impressive Chinese domestic players such as Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto and in this key region," Ives said.
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