Morgan Stanley Plays It Safe on Tesla Inc (TSLA) Ahead of Monster Semi-Truck Catalyst

NACV show could be where Tesla unveils its first semi-truck- but is the current market cap enticing enough?

Could a Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) semi truly translate to “the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades?”

That is the question of the hour Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas is posing ahead of the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show in Atlanta, believing this event “could be a catalyst for the reveal.” Additionally, Tesla could have partnerships in the works, with collaboration possibilities ranging from Schneider National to FedEx to XPO Logistics to US Xpress to Ryder System.

Even though semi-trucks could serve as quite a “natural market” for CEO Elon Musk’s brainchild, Jonas notes it is a “struggle to see it worth more than 10% of the current market cap.”

Jonas notes, “We theoretically assume that Tesla can deliver 25k units of Class 8 electric trucks annually with battery leasing revenue from 300k trucks in operation driving 30 billion miles (300k trucks x 100k miles per truck per year). This would result in revenue of $0.25 per mile assuming a 50% gross margin on the battery business alone and a blended gross margin of 36% by 2028 (including 15% gross margin on OEM truck sales and 5% gross margin for 3PL logistics). We further assumed 15% SG&A/sales and 5% R&D/sales and a 25% tax rate to achieve $1.4bn of NOPAT on $11.7bn of revenues for Tesla Trucks by 2028.”

As such, until proof is seen that semi news “could stoke investor interest/headlines in the stock again,” the analyst maintains a Hold rating on TSLA stock with a $317 price target, which implies an 8% downside from current levels. (To watch Jonas’ track record, click here)

Most are sidelined on this electric car giant these days, as TipRanks analytics demonstrate TSLA as a Hold. Based on 17 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 5 rate a Buy on Tesla stock, 7 maintain a Hold, while 5 issue a Sell. The 12-month average price target stands at $311.46, marking a nearly 10% downside from where the stock is currently trading.

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