Rivian shares bounce on earnings beat, lower capital spending outlook

Rivian shares fall on mixed earnings and ongoing losses

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Shares in Rivian Automotive Inc. dropped in late trading after the electric vehicle maker reported mixed results and ongoing losses in its latest earnings report.

For its fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31, Rivian reported an adjusted loss of $1.73 per share on revenue of $663 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings per share loss of $1.94 on revenue of $742.4 million.

Rivian reported a net loss in the quarter of $1.723 billion, down from $2.461 billion in the same quarter of last year. For the fiscal year 2022, the company lost $6.856 billion, up from $4.22 billion the year prior. Adjusted earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization came in at a loss of $1.461 billion.

Startups do bleed money, but Rivian went public in 2021, so it’s not a startup. But you wouldn’t know that from its figures. For example, net cash used in operating activities in the quarter came in at $1.146 billion. Net cash burned through the fiscal year 2022 was a staggering $5.052 billion, roughly double what it was the year before. The only solace is that as of the end of December, Rivian still had about $12 billion in cash and equivalents on hand.

Car makers like to pretend to be tech startups, Tesla Inc. being a good example, but how many cars it made is still an important question. Although Rivian is improving, the number of vehicles it made in 2022 was only 24,337, despite production rising 36% in the fourth quarter.

Highlights in the quarter included Rivian starting a second manufacturing shift as part of its efforts to expand R1 electric pickup truck production. The company also says it took steps to deliver cost efficiency, including simplifying its future product portfolio and driving a lower cost structure across all aspects of its business. That was in the fourth quarter, but the company started laying off people, 6% of its staff, only in February.

If the massive losses were not disturbing enough, Rivian also announced a recall of 12,700 vehicles. The third Rivial recall since 2021 came after a sensor issue with the front passenger seat-belt systems.

Looking forward, Rivian predicts that it will make 50,000 vehicles in 2023 and deliver an adjusted loss of $4.3 billion.

“During 2023, our gross margin is expected to remain negative, but we anticipate improving on a dollar basis for the year as production volumes in the factory increase and we make progress on our commercial, engineering, and operational cost down efforts,” the company said in a letter to shareholders.

Rivian shares were down more than 9% after-hours.

Photo: Rivian

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