|Will Tesla investors soon be wiped out?|
Unless Elon Musk “pulls a rabbit out of his hat," Tesla will be bankrupt within four months, says John Thompson of Vilas Capital Management.
“Companies eventually have to make a profit, and I don’t ever see that happening here," he told MarketWatch. “This is one of the worst income statements I’ve ever seen and between the story and the financials, the financials will win out in this case."
Thompson manages $25 million and his Tesla short is the fund’s biggest position. To be fair, he’s been betting big against Tesla for years, which, of course, means he’s endured some brutal stretches.
Last April, for instance, the stock hit a record high around the $300 mark, and Musk was right there to troll the Tesla bears:
From that point, the stock continued to break new ground, eventually topping out at $389.61. But despite Tesla’s strong performance in 2017, Thompson’s fund still managed to churn out a 65% gain for the year.
Now, Tesla’s back to where it was when Musk fired off his “Shortville" tweet, and Thompson is confident his bet is about to pay off nicely.
In fact, Thompson says if his prediction comes true, his fund could surge by another 50%. With that in mind, he says he’s investing $500,000 of his own money.
“Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy," he told clients in an email over the weekend. He explained that funding will be hard to come by in the face of problems in delivering the Model 3, declining demand for the Model S and X, extreme valuation and a likely downgrade of its credit rating by Moody’s from B- to CCC.
“As a reality check, Tesla is worth twice as much as Ford [estimate of the enterprise value of both companies], yet Ford made 6 million cars last year at a $7.6 billion profit while Tesla made 100,000 cars at a $2 billion loss," Thompson said. “Further, Ford has $12 billion in cash held for ‘a rainy day’ while Tesla will likely run out of money in the next 3 months. I’ve never seen anything so absurd in my career."
Tesla declined to comment on Thompson’s views. Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch – 3/28/2018