Tesla's China Numbers Might Be Worse Than First Blush
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Tesla’s China Numbers Might Be Worse Than First Blush

After a day of confusion saw the company’s stock fall.

By Al Root
Wed, May 12, 2021 12:20pmGrey Clock 3 min

Confusion has reigned in recent Tesla trading. There has been confusion about Tesla driving features and a fatal Texas crash; the true impact of zero-emission credit sales; and now over Tesla’s April sales figures in China. One thing is certain: Investors hate confusion.

Tesla stock fell 1.9% Tuesday, but started out the day significantly lower, making the drop actually a small win for Tesla investors. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9% and 1.4%, respectively.

Even though the stock rallied through the day, Tesla’s China sales numbers might be worse than investors initially assumed. Chinese auto industry data show Tesla sold roughly 26,000 EVs in April, down from about 35,000 in March. It’s a decline amid growth for Tesla’s Chinese EV competitors.

The confusion is over exports. Tesla also exported about 14,000 cars from China in April, according to the same industry association. So the question investors started asking analysts is: Did Tesla produce 40,000 cars in China in April, meaning the company sold 26,000 in China and exported an additional 14,000? Or did Tesla make 26,000 cars overall in China, selling 12,000 of those in China and exporting the rest?

Tesla isn’t helping untangle the numbers. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“We’ve been exchanging emails with confused clients all morning,” wrote Piper Sandler Alex Potter in a Tuesday report. His original interpretation of the numbers was that Tesla sold about 26,000 vehicles in China and exported an additional 14,000, but acknowledged the possibility that Tesla only sold about 12,000 in the country and exported the rest of the 26,000.

That would mean Tesla sales declined by nearly two-thirds month to month. But even if the answer is only 12,000 Chinese sales in April, Potter isn’t worried.

“Don’t stare too closely at these monthly numbers,” wrote the analyst. “We prefer to examine Tesla’s market share on a trailing [three-]month basis.”

He also points out that the Tesla plant in Shanghai was closed for two weeks in the first quarter, which might have sacrificed 10,000 or so vehicles. What’s more, Tesla tends to ship most of its units in the final month of the quarter.

GLJ analyst Gordon Johnson isn’t as sanguine and believes the 14,000 deliveries are part of the 26,000 figure. For him, that means Tesla has a market share problem in the world’s largest market for EVs.

Potter and Johnson’s take on the April data aligns with their ratings. Potter rates shares Buy and has $1,200 price target for the stock, the highest on Wall Street. His target price values the company at more than $1 trillion. Johnson rates shares Sell and has the lowest target price on the Street at $67 a share. His target values the company at about $80 billion, or roughly what General Motors (GM) stock is worth.

The entire April report is, frankly, confusing, adding to existing uncertainty surrounding Tesla stock.

Tesla’s driver-assistance function was initially implicated in a deadly Texas crash in April, but it looks as if the system wasn’t turned on, according to preliminary findings by the National Transportation Safety Board. In other words, that would mean the human driver crashed the car, although investors will have to wait to see the NTSB’s final report.

Tesla also reported better-than-expected first-quarter numbers in late April. The numbers, however, were boosted by Bitcoin trading profits and bigger-than-expected zero-emission credit sales—which Tesla earns for producing more than its fair share of no-emission cars and then sells to other auto makers that don’t meet zero-emission quotas.

All the confusion has weighed on shares. Tesla stock is down about 9% over the past month. The Nasdaq Composite is off 4% over the same span.

Regardless of the final interpretation, Tesla’s April sales in China dropped sequentially, while other EV makers’ deliveries rose. That isn’t what Tesla bulls want to see, and it’s another thing to worry about in coming months.

Reprinted by permission of Barron’s. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 11, 2021.



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The Top 10 highest paid CEOs of the ASX 200 revealed

Along with pay rates, the latest report from the ACSI shows bonuses are no longer based on exceptional results

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Jul 23, 2024 2 min

The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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