Vivek Kumar
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Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO’s shares slumped 13% on Tuesday after the company’s loss far surpassed analysts’ expectations for the fourth quarter and warned the global chip shortage would slow the pace of EV deliveries in the first quarter.

The company, which designs, manufactures, and sells smart and connected premium electric vehicles, reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 1.49 billion yuan, way above Wall Street consensus estimates for a loss of 757 million yuan.

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NIO’s reported a net loss per share of $1.05 for the fourth quarter, largely missing the market expectations for a loss of $0.16 per share. The firm said its revenue surged over 130% to $6.64 billion from the same period last year but came a little below analyst’s forecasts of $6.71 billion.

“NIO concluded a transformational 2020 with a new quarterly delivery record of 17,353 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2020. The strong momentum has continued in 2021 as we achieved a historic monthly delivery of 7,225 vehicles in January and a resilient delivery of 5,578 vehicles in February, representing strong 352% and 689% year-over-year growth, respectively,” said William Bin Li, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of NIO.

“Supported by competitive product offerings, outstanding services and innovative business models, we have won increasing recognition from our users and expect to deliver 20,000 to 20,500 vehicles in the first quarter of 2021.”

However, that is slower than the 42% increase the Chinese electric vehicle maker reported between the third and the fourth quarter.

Following this, the U.S.-listed NIO shares, which surged over 1,100% in 2020, slumped 13% to $43.29 on Tuesday. However, it gained 1.6% to $43.98 in extended trading.

“We cut our DCF-based TP to USD91 from USD100 after factoring in our new earnings forecasts while our WACC assumption is unchanged. We reiterate our Buy rating on NIO as we see its technology as ahead of peers with strong sales volume growth ahead. The recent share-price retreat serves as a good entry point, in our view. Key downside risks: lower-than-expected sales volume and margin,” said Daiwa’s Kelvin Lau.

“Our 2021-2023E earnings are more conservative than the street likely as we are more cautious on its EBIT margin outlook. However, we are likely more positive on NIO’s long-run outlook.”

NIO Stock Price Forecast

Ten analysts who offered stock ratings for NIO in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $68.26 with a high forecast of $80.30 and a low forecast of $54.00.

The average price target represents a 57.68% increase from the last price of $43.29. From those ten analysts, seven rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while none rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $60 with a high of $122 under a bull scenario and $42 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Overweight” rating on the Chinese electric vehicle makers’ stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. JPMorgan lowered their target price to $70 from $75. Jefferies set a hold rating and a $60 target price for the company. Nomura set a buy rating and $80.30 target price for the company.

Moreover, Nomura set a buy rating and $80.30 target price for the company. Bank of America boosted their price objective to $70 from $59 and gave the stock a buy rating.


Analyst Comments

“Solid 1Q volume guidance suggests the good trajectory of sales recovery post CNY, corroborating superior market recognition of NIO’s models and brand. The strong balance sheet can finance more aggressive channel expansion and technology investment. Tight component supply will likely cap 2Q sales upside,” said Tim Hsiao, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“We expect higher long-term growth visibility from the software development BaaS initiative. Tesla’s success in China has also attracted fund flows for EV makers, which we think bodes well for NIO’s long-term R&D investment capability and growth potential. Proven scale benefits with continuous gross margin improvement.”

Upside and Downside Risks

Risks to Upside: 1) Progress in planned A-share listing. 2) Stronger-than-expected sales volume. 3) Better-than-expected improvements in operating efficiency- highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Risks to Downside: 1) Weaker-than-expected sales volume. 2) Lack of signs of efficiency improvement. 3) Lower-than-expected NOP option take rate.

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