Tesla Stock: It Can Counter Rising Costs of Entry (NASDAQ: TSLA)
Many may be puzzled as to why we are taking opposing positions on Ford (NYSE:F) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA); However, there is a significant disparity between the majority of automakers and Tesla due to the lifecycle of the industry and how investors value the respective stocks.
This article covers Tesla’s outlook given a surge in commodity prices. There has been a contentious debate where some have taken a stand and asserted that rising metal prices will increase variable costs and lead to less growth, while others argue that rising fossil fuel prices will trigger a buying spree for electric vehicles. This article takes a bird’s nest view and dissects both sides of the argument structurally and in reduced form.
I was quite surprised when I came across these measurements. I’ve analyzed the business segments of a few large companies over the course of my career, and we typically look at segment revenue and cash flow relative to CapEx while considering the level of CapEx relative to the past. I will, however, talk about Tesla’s company-wide metrics.
Tesla’s CapEx, which is its internal reinvestment rate, increased by 14.97x year-over-year as production ramps up, expansion into Texas with headquarters, factory expansion in Germany, and Chinese market penetration .
That being said, Tesla’s cash flow to CapEx has increased 3.4x over the past year, its Capex to revenue has improved by 62.80% and its operating margins improved 2.1 times. Keep in mind this was during a time of rising input costs.
It is also clear that Tesla management anticipated an increase in demand with an increase in finished products. You typically want to look at the entire pipeline of raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods and look for alignment when determining demand. It’s obviously an internal way of looking at things, but it gives substance.
Finally, for this section, I would like to provide an overview of business expansion in China. Although Tesla’s sales in China fell by 5.6% month-over-month for February, it still produced 200% year-over-year growth, suggesting it is entering a robust consumer market with a vengeance. It is critical for a business to grow globally when it is susceptible to sales volatility; in effect, it allows it to no longer rely on the health of a single geographic consumer base and, in turn, to reduce the risks associated with the outlook for its stock. I see huge benefits for Tesla’s expansion into an economy with a huge GDP to say the least.
Commodity Price Analysis
Much has been made of the commodity price spike and its impact on Tesla shares. While this will impact the company’s variable cost, I don’t think it will have a massive impact on its share price.
Historically speaking, Tesla investors didn’t hesitate much when metal and mineral prices rose, in fact there was a positive correlation.
Why could this be? Well, the stock market is looking forward and probably separating Tesla’s hypergrowth model from transient/highly elastic inflation. Don’t get me wrong, I think rising metal prices will have a massive impact on many auto stocks, but Tesla’s “best in class” status could prevent it from being correlated with other auto stocks. .
Additionally, Tesla’s status is still that of a Veblen product that serves a niche market, allowing its sales to be less susceptible to negative macroeconomic factors than more traditional automakers. Many analysts have argued that rising fossil fuel prices are a reason consumers are turning to electric vehicles. I think this is invalid because I don’t see how the masses would refinance a new vehicle when they are already financially stressed in the first place. Moreover, non-core inflation is more elastic than core inflation; most people who can finance vehicles have enough life experience to know that energy prices will trade in equilibrium over the lifetime of their car ownership (assuming they don’t change in any way maniacal). Thus, I see Tesla as a trend rather than its efficiency contributing to mass purchases; otherwise, we would have also seen the previous electric vehicles selling like hotcakes?
To wrap up this section, I’d like to touch on a few macro factors. First, the commodity price spikes ex-post and in their current form have been mostly driven by push factors. I believe there was a massive overreaction during Covid-19 and subsequently with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. I’m not saying in a linear way that commodity prices won’t be high for the foreseeable future, however, commodity prices tend to top in the short term and stay down in the long term, and that Won’t surprise me if traders soon overreact on the downside.
Let’s look at purchasing power and reopenings to provide a potential trade-off scenario.
First, consumer purchasing power has declined significantly over the past year, suggesting that we are likely to experience lower demand for industrial and precious metals in the near term, as they are directly tied to general consumption expenditure. To contextualize, you will only produce items at a rate that you expect consumers to buy, unless you are in a niche market like Tesla.
Second, we are seeing less stringent Covid policies. Reopenings will likely increase capacity for metal producers, which will likely contribute to price headwinds.
So, to sum up, I’m not implying that commodity prices will be cheap (relative to break-even point) over the next few years; however, I would argue that current price levels are overblown, and it’s clear that Tesla’s stock is forward-looking, meaning it’s unlikely to be as sensitive to transient commodity costs as it is. other industrial/consumer discretionary goods.
Many look to Tesla’s price/earnings ratio and its other price multiples to conclude that Tesla is overvalued, but that’s too simplistic a way to go about it. First, let’s justify the company’s PE.
Source: Alpha Research
Yes, Tesla’s PE ratio is outrageous, but if we look at its PE versus earnings growth, it’s actually still an undervalued metric. The PEG ratio has a value threshold of 1.00 and, in the case of Tesla, suggests that its earnings growth is currently outpacing its stock growth by about 3.85 times, leaving investors plenty of room to maneuver. to capture value.
The second argument is for an asset-based valuation, which gives us a fair value of $863.25. That in itself suggests the stock is undervalued based on past results, let alone future growth. If you see a stock trading at its current net asset value, you know it is valued by the market and trading rationally; however, Tesla is undervalued.
|Enterprise Value (EV)||$880.34 billion|
|Cash (NYSE:C)||$17.71 billion|
|Market value of debt (NYSE:D)||$8.90B|
|Outstanding shares (NYSE: N/A)||1.03 million|
|The formula||(EV – D + C)/SO|
Source: Alpha Research
Although I have argued that rising commodity prices will not have a massive effect on Tesla stock, there is still a need to discuss the risks associated with it. I’m going to skip the obvious of rising variable costs, and I’m going to address hedging activities. To our knowledge, Tesla is not hedged against commodity prices, and that’s a bit of a rookie mistake; as a manufacturer, you would always want to hedge against input costs. I don’t know if Tesla has initiated any hedges since publishing its 10-K report in February. However, failure to do so could harm the effectiveness of the company’s financial management.
Also, from a stock perspective, Tesla has a worse Sharpe ratio than last year. The Sharpe ratio is a function of expected return relative to overall market volatility.
Why should this matter? Because you are essentially invested in a risky asset that does not justify the returns as well as in the past, therefore switching to an investment with more positively biased returns could be a valid option.
Tesla shares have a history of fending off rising input costs. The company has produced robust growth efficiently over the past year, which has also driven prices higher. Its expansion into China bodes well, given that it is less dependent on a single economy. The stock is also still undervalued, contrary to popular opinion.
We remain bullish on Tesla despite rising input costs.