Tesla ($TSLA) has a best-in-class return on invested capital, a new report found. The Tesla Research Report, written by Steady Compounding’s Thomas Chua, analyzed the financial profile of Tesla. Chua noted that today’s Tesla is “drastically different from the Tesla before 2019.”
In 2019, Tesla had a positive free cash flow (FCF) when compared with other automotive companies, and appeared to be the most profitable, with operating margins of 16.7% during its latest twelve months’ financials. The company holds a 29% return on invested capital, and following Tesla is BMW at 18% and Mercedes at 14%.
Chua noted that Tesla could possibly sustain the high return on invested capital and maybe increase it further over time.
“Despite being the industry leader in EV, it is still extremely nascent. As of 2021, on a worldwide basis, Tesla has a 0.99% market share of the worldwide passenger cars market. The world is their oyster as we transit from internal combustion engine vehicles into EVs,” Chua wrote.
Chua then analyzed Tesla’s Master Plan and what he described as its economic moat, which is comprised of its Supercharging network, brand following, direct-to-consumer retail model, management, compensation, and CEO Elon Musk’s skin in the game.
Some of the risks he mentioned included competition in which many legacy automakers have warmed up to the idea of EVs as the future and are now trying to compete with Tesla. Chua noted that Tesla is no longer that young company whose survival depends on Elon Musk’s ability to raise capital, but it is now net cash positive and generating FCF while growing at a 50% rate.
During Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call in October, Elon Musk said that he could see the company becoming more valuable than Apple and Saudi Aramco combined. “Now I’m of the opinion that we can far exceed Apple’s current market cap. I see a path for Tesla to be worth more than Apple and Saudi Aramco combined,” he said.
Disclosure: Johnna is a $TSLA shareholder and believes in Tesla’s mission.
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