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Jul 25, 2022

Tesla boosts capital spending plan, reveals new U.S. SEC subpoena

Tesla's bitcoin sale was a prudent move to preserve cash in a hard Q2: Seth Goldstein

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Tesla Inc. increased its capital expenditure plan by billions of dollars after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk referred to the carmaker’s new factories as “gigantic money furnaces.”

The revised plan was revealed Monday in a regulatory filing that also disclosed details of the electric-vehicle maker’s Bitcoin sales and another subpoena from securities regulators related to Musk’s 2018 tweet about taking Tesla private.

The company now expects US$6 billion to US$8 billion of capital expenditures this year and each of the next two years, according to its latest quarterly report. Tesla had previously estimated it would spend between US$5 billion and US$7 billion on ramping up manufacturing facilities and other items.

Musk told a Tesla owners club at the end of May that the company was struggling to boost production of Model Y sport utility vehicles at factories that recently opened near Berlin and in Austin, Texas. The carmaker still managed last week to beat estimates for second-quarter earnings, and the CEO’s optimism about emerging from supply-chain challenges sent shares soaring to the highest since early May.

Tesla’s shares slipped less than 1 per cent at 9:35 a.m. Monday in New York.

The company also said it received a subpoena on June 13 from the US Securities and Exchange Commission about its compliance with an agreement to oversee Musk’s tweeting. It was the second subpoena the SEC has issued in months regarding how the company has governed its CEO’s social media postings after he claimed in 2018 to have had secured funding to take Tesla private.

Tesla said it’s cooperating with regulatory and government requests.

Musk last month appealed a federal court ruling upholding the settlement.

Tesla disclosed it recorded a US$170 million impairment loss in the first half of the year related to the carrying value of its Bitcoin holdings. It also reported a US$64 million gain from selling the digital asset during the period.

Musk told analysts on a call last week after Tesla reported earnings that Tesla sold Bitcoin to bolster its cash position after the Shanghai shutdowns due to COVID-19 earlier this year.