U.S. Electric Carmaker Tesla Plans Public Stock Offering

Tesla would be the first auto company to go public since Ford did so in 1956.

Tesla Motors said on Jan. 29 that it plans an initial public offering of stock that could raise as much as $100 million.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said the price range and exact number of shares had not been decided. The Palo Alto, Cali.-based automaker also did not set a date for the IPO.

Founded in 2003 by South African Elon Musk, a co-founder of online payments giant PayPal, Tesla specializes in environmentally friendly electric cars.

The Tesla Roadster, a high-performance sports car, costs more than $100,000 and can go nearly 250 miles on a single charge. In its SEC filing, Tesla said it had sold 937 Tesla Roadsters to customers in 18 countries as of December 31.

Tesla is also making a "Model S" five-passenger sedan powered by lithium-ion battery packs capable of between 160 and 300 miles per charge.

The Model S, expected in 2012, has an anticipated base price of around $50,000.

According to the documents filed with the SEC, Tesla has generated total revenue of $108.2 million since it was founded and has accumulated a deficit of $236.4 million as of September 30. The company said it had a net loss of $31.5 million for the nine months which ended September 30, 2009.

Daimler took a 10% stake in Tesla in May of last year and sold 40% of its stake in July to Aabar Investments group of the United Arab Emirates.

Last year, Tesla received a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program to help it build the Model S.

According to U.S. press reports, Tesla would be the first auto company to go public since Ford did so in 1956.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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