Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who previously claimed that Tesla had vast long-term growth potential, has now described the firm as a “distressed-credit and restructuring” story in a call with investors.
Forbes reports that during a recent call with investors, Morgan Stanley equity analyst Adam Jonas, a long-time Tesla bull who has recently grown skeptical of the company, expressed concerns over Tesla’s future. Issues raised on the call include signs that demand for Tesla’s electric vehicles appears to be slowing, poor sales in China, and lack of excitement over the announcement of the company’s Model Y SUV.
Jonas stated during the call that as recently as 2018 “Tesla was seen as a growth story,” but “today, supply exceeds demand, they’re burning cash. Nobody cares about the Model Y. … Tesla is not seen as a growth story, at least the feedback we were getting, which is quite one-sided … it’s seen more as a distressed credit story and restructuring story.”
According to Bloomberg, Jonas also compared Tesla’s position in the auto industry to that of the “white rabbit” at dog races: “Auto company executives describe Tesla as the white rabbit at the dog race. All the other companies know they are never going to catch the rabbit; they just hope they are the fastest dog. Tesla’s the white rabbit, but it’s attached to execution liabilities and real financial liabilities. What is the rabbit worth?”
These latest comments from Jonas come shortly after a leaked note to clients from Jonas and his team described a worst-case scenario for Tesla’s future. The client note stated: “The reduction in our bear case to $10 is driven primarily by our concerns around Chinese demand for Tesla products. Our revised bear case assumes Tesla misses our current Chinese volume forecast by roughly half to account for the highly volatile trade situation in the region, particularly around areas of technology, which we believe run a high and increasing risk of government/regulatory attention.”
Jonas noted in his discussion about Tesla that the company passed up an opportunity to raise more funds late last year when finances for the firm looked stronger. Jonas stated: “We were thinking they would raise capital but felt there was a very high likelihood that there would be a strategic involvement, someone to fill the board, provide some know-how and some vision in addition to the Tesla vision.” Jonas added that instead “they are raising capital near the lows, no strategic buy-in.” He said: “It was all institutional.”