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by Tim Beissmann

California-based electric car company Tesla is hoping to raise $US185 million ($214 million) in its initial public offering by selling shares to Toyota and the public.

Toyota announced last month that it would invest $US50 million ($58 million) in the company, taking its total stake to around 2.5 percent.

The 11.1 million shares on offer will sell for between $US14 and $US16 dollars ($16 to $19).

The decision, announced in January, means Tesla will become the first US automotive manufacturer to go public since Ford in 1956.

Founded in 2003, Tesla has lost more than $US290 million ($336 million) over the past seven years – more than 10 percent of that in the first quarter of 2010 alone.

Sales of 1063 Tesla Roadsters has led to total revenue of around $148 million ($171 million) throughout the company’s history, and Tesla has admitted it is not anticipating a positive result until 2012 when it begins producing the more affordable Model S sedan in a joint venture with Toyota.

The Model S is expected to be priced below $US50,000 ($58,000), and Tesla hopes the product of its tie-up with Toyota will help its expansion into the global market.

Tesla has a $US465 million ($538 million) long-term loan from the US Department of Energy to help develop and manufacture the Model S.

(with AP, BBC News)




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