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Tesla posts strong profit on back of electric vehicle sales

Tesla made $438 million in the three-month period that ended March 31
AP Reporters

Tesla on Monday posted its seventh-straight profitable quarter after strong sales of its electric cars and SUVs.

The company made $438 million (£315 million) in the three-month period that ended March 31, as sales more than doubled the same quarter last year to nearly 185,000 vehicles.

Tesla said adjusted net income, excluding stock-based compensation, passed one billion dollars (£720 million) for the first time in company history.

The company also said there is evidence that a person was behind the wheel of a Tesla that crashed in Texas earlier this month, killing two men. But authorities near Houston said investigators were sure no one was driving the car when it missed a curve, hit a tree and went off the road.

The April 17 crash near Houston has brought renewed scrutiny of Tesla and its Autopilot partially automated driving system. Two federal agencies are joining local authorities in investigating.

Excluding stock-based compensation and non-recurring items, Tesla made 93 cents per share. That beat Wall Street estimates of 75 cents per share, according analysts polled by data provider FactSet. First-quarter revenue rose 74% to 10.39 billion dollars (£7.48 billion), but it was just shy of the 10.48 billion dollars expected by analysts.

Once again the company needed regulatory credits purchased by other automakers in order to make a profit. Without 518 million dollars (£373 million) in credits for the quarter, Tesla would have lost money. Other automakers buy the credits when they can not meet emissions and fuel economy standards.

The company, which also makes solar panels and batteries, made only 16 million dollars (£11.5 million) in the first quarter of 2020.

Tesla, which now has the sixth-largest market value of all companies in the S&P 500 at 708.56 billion dollars (£510 billion), saw its shares fall about 2.5% in extended trading Monday. The company released numbers just after the markets closed.

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