Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter several days ago that the company’s $1.4 billion loan for its Gigafactory Shanghai facility in China was paid off.
On October 4, 2021, @jpr007, a Tesla enthusiast on Twitter, showed documentation that Tesla had officially paid off its entire $1.4 billion loan, which was granted from Chinese banks, in just sixteen months. The loan was announced in December 2019, and appeared to have no balance as of Tesla’s Q2 2021 financial documentation. Musk later confirmed the story by stating, “Tesla always pays its debts.” His statement was a response to a CleanTechnica article.
Tesla always pays its debts
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 5, 2021
JPR stated that the $1.4 billion loan was paid off in just 16 months, as the terms of the loan had a five-year, or sixty month, pay-off period. This would entail that Tesla paid off the tremendous loan massively early, and it appears that the entire balance was paid with profits from the Shanghai factory. The loan was provided by several banks, including China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, according to a report from Reuters.
Tesla has a reputation for paying back its federal loans, whether from the United States government or a foreign entity, rather quickly and well ahead of schedule. In May 2013, Tesla, then Tesla Motors, announced that it had paid off a massive loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, sending its final wire on May 22 worth $451.8 million. Tesla paid the loan back nine years early.
If speculation is correct and Tesla utilized only profits from the Shanghai factory to pay back the $1.4 billion loan from Chinese banks, this was likely fueled by the widened gross margins Tesla was receiving from its vehicle sales. Tesla has become a mainstay in the Chinese electric vehicle market, being one of the top manufacturers in the region in terms of sales figures. Additionally, the company was rumored to have a 39% gross margin on its China-built Model 3, and 29.4% on the Model Y. The increased gross margin came from increased vertical integration and manufacturing efficiencies which made Tesla’s vehicles easier and more affordable to produce.
Paying back loans early is a great look for the electric automaker, as Tesla is utilizing strategic financial strategies to eliminate its debts while also increasing profitability. Tesla has already accumulated eight consecutive quarters of profitability, dating back to Q3 2019.