A familiar foe to Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla has revisited his doubt for the stock. Michael Burry, famous for “The Big Short,” has reiterated his short position against Tesla as a new 13-F filing with the SEC reveals he has placed a $530 million bet against the company.
Burry was made famous in the late 2000s as the mortgage crisis made him and his investors billions of dollars. Because of this, investors tend to take Burry’s analysis of stocks with plenty of credibilities. However, Burry’s short position against Tesla isn’t new, and he has looked at Tesla in the past as an opportunity to make money off a short position.
The 13-F filing with the SEC revealed that Burry bought more than 800,000 Tesla put options contracts in Q1 worth $534.4 million. Puts provide investors with gains when underlying securities drop in price. Tesla has not had a great 2021 on Wall Street, based on relatively bearish news coverage that hasn’t been substantiated or confirmed by Tesla itself. On several occasions, large media outlets have run with stories with no identifiable source. Local, named, and credible sources have stepped forward on several occasions to debunk claims regarding Tesla’s shortcomings.
A few examples have dealt with the news of delays at production facilities that Tesla is building or expanding upon. Both Giga Shanghai in China and Giga Berlin in Germany have been subjected to news of delays; Shanghai in Tesla’s attempt to expand the factory’s footprint to increase already active manufacturing output, and Berlin has been plagued with rumors of an early 2022 start date, a timeline that doesn’t add up to Tesla’s estimations.
Both of these reports have been disproven by local sources. In Shanghai, workers who are responsible for the construction of a new expansion of the Chinese plant indicated that there are no delays or halts. Giga Berlin’s delays were debunked by local politician Jörg Steinbach, who stated that he expects the factory to begin production in late-Summer or early-Autumn.
Most of the criticism in terms of Tesla’s financials comes from its sale of regulatory credits to other automakers. The sale of these credits helps automakers who have not yet transitioned to manufacturing electric powertrains reach lofty emissions goals set by the European Union. Volkswagen recently stated that it will continue buying the credits and will depend on them for another 3-5 years. Other companies, like Fiat, which Stellantis obtained, indicated that it would no longer need to purchase these credits. However, some analysts have not agreed with the opinion that Tesla will need to sell credits to remain profitable.
Burry said in January that Tesla investors should “enjoy it while it lasts,” referring to the over 700% increase in stock price that occurred last year. So far, in 2021, Tesla is down around 21%.
Tesla delivered its seventh-consecutive profitable quarter with the Q1 2021 Earnings Call in April. The same quarter yielded record deliveries despite only the Model 3 and Model Y being produced.
Disclaimer: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.