New reports state that if Elon Musk’s Tesla doesn’t see its stock rally by 21 percent in the next month, the company will be forced to pay $920 million cash as bonds come due.
Bloomberg reports that Tesla has approximately $920 million in debt due on March 1 from convertible bonds issued back in 2014. Tesla can avoid this massive bill by exchanging the debt for a mix of cash and stock but would only be able to do this if its stock price jumped by 21 percent from its current value.
This debt payment is the biggest in the history of the company and would wipe out a huge chunk of the company’s cash as they enter a new, challenging year. The company’s stock is historically quite volatile, reaching extreme highs and dipping low within a few days; but reaching a stock price of $359.87 within 21 days could be a stretch. Tesla is also scheduled to release fourth-quarter earnings this week, which could be a deciding factor in the success of the company’s stock.
Chris Hartman, a senior portfolio manager at Aegon Asset Management commented on the issue saying: “There’s always a glimmer of hope. With the volatility that can happen inside this stock, the market is clearly saying it’s possible for that stock to be at, near, or above $360.”
In December, following a surprisingly impressive third-quarter earnings report the company’s stock value rose to around $376. Along with the posting of $881 million in positive free cash flow for the three months ended September 30, this alleviated concerns about the company’s ability to pay off debt maturities with CEO Elon Musk stating that he won’t need to raise cash to pay off the bonds.
But since then, Tesla’s stock has dropped by more than 20 percent and was at $296 a share at the close on Monday. Combined with increasing worries about a lack of demand for Tesla vehicles and the announcement of the layoff of seven percent of the company’s workforce, things are not looking great for the company. Hitin Anand, an analyst at debt-research firm CreditSights Inc. in New York commented on the upcoming $920 million debt that Tesla is facing stating: “They have the cash, but would rather have people convert. Will this put them in distress? No. But it won’t be ideal.
Still, the company will soon be forced to make some form of payout; ideally, they will be paying out a 50-50 split of stock and cash but if investors demand a full payout immediately, the company could take a harsh blow to its bank account.