David Einhorn, a staunch Tesla critic and owner of Greenlight Capital fund, revealed on Tuesday that his bet against the electric car maker resulted in heavy losses for his firm during the first half of 2018. In Q2 alone, Greenlight Capital lost 5.4%, bringing the fund’s losses from January to June to 18.3%.
In a letter to investors acquired by Reuters on Tuesday, Einhorn revealed that his stance against Tesla aggravated Greenlight’s grim returns. During the second quarter, Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose 29%, becoming the hedge fund’s “second biggest loser.” Einhorn later added in a later note that the fund’s returns fell 0.4% more in July, bringing Greenlight’s total losses to 18.6% for the year.
Einhorn, who leased a Model S, has pushed the notion that Tesla’s electric cars are unreliable and even dangerous, while criticizing the California-based company’s cash burn. Despite his complaints, as well as increasingly negative media coverage on Tesla and Elon Musk, the company’s stock has remained strong, turning Einhorn’s short bet into substantial losses. In his letter to investors, the hedge fund owner admitted that mistakes had been made, and Greenlight’s returns over the past three years have been “far worse than we could have imagined.” Due to the fund’s performance, Einhorn revealed that some investors have run out of patience and asked for their money back.
Regardless of his fund’s losses, Einhorn still maintains his short position against Tesla, stating that he doubts the Model 3 could be “produced profitably anytime soon, if ever.” Einhorn also criticized Tesla’s ongoing initiatives to rush the Model 3 to reservation holders, as well as Elon Musk’s “erratic and desperate” behavior on social media.
“Right now the market is telling us we are wrong, wrong, wrong about nearly everything. We wonder whether surge production techniques to support self-congratulatory tweets are economically efficient ways of ramping production, or whether customers will be happy with the quality of a car rush through production to prove a point to short sellers. The most striking feature of the quarter is that Elon Musk appears erratic and desperate,” Einhorn wrote.
The Greenfield Capital owner also wrote in his letter that he has already made moves to stem the firm’s losses. Einhorn, for one, stated that he had covered most of the firm’s short position on Netflix Inc. between January and April. He also exited a bet on Resona Holdings, a Japanese bank, while selling Dillard’s at a loss. Furthermore, Einhorn covered a 5-year bet against Elekta AB with a small gain.
In response to reports of Einhorn opting not to renew his Model S’ lease, Tesla CEO Elon Musk fired off a tweet trolling the hedge fund owner.
Tragic. Will send Einhorn a box of short shorts to comfort him through this difficult time.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 1, 2018
Tesla is set to release its Q2 financial report after markets close today, followed by an earnings call at 2:30 p.m. PST (5:30 p.m. EST). Consensus among Wall Street analysts suggests that Tesla would be reporting a loss of $2.81 per share, as well as a revenue of around $3.97 billion. Tesla is also expected to release figures about the Model 3’s ongoing ramp and delivery guidance for the rest of the year, considering that the company has recently crossed the 200,000-vehicle mark that triggers a phase-out period for the $7,500 federal tax credit granted to buyers of new electric cars.
As Tesla heads into what could very well be an earnings call signifying a turning point for the company, reports have also emerged from sources that the electric car maker plans to invest $5 billion to construct Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Tesla is reportedly looking to raise funds in China to finance a portion of the investment needed for the factory, which is expected to start producing vehicles by 2020.