BOSTON — One day after Tesla Inc posted its third quarterly profit in a row, hedge fund manager David Einhorn, one of the electric carmaker’s best-known critics, lobbed questions about the company’s financials at its two top executives.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Einhorn asked Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk and chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn about Tesla’s accounts receivable, costs, idled factories and the impact of currency market movements on the company.
“Can you or (Zack) explain,” Einhorn wrote, misspelling the CFO’s first name in the tweet. Without answers, the investor added, he would continue to wonder “if not only your accounts receivable are suspect, but your income statement as well.”
Einhorn has 48,000 followers on Twitter and his message hit a nerve after Musk on Wednesday overshadowed his company’s strong first quarter results with comments about stay-at-home restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Musk called for an end to California’s stay-at-home orders, describing them as “fascist” and a “serious risk” to his business.
The hedge fund manager’s Thursday tweet was retweeted nearly 700 times and liked more than 2,500 times. Representatives for Einhorn and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Einhorn and Musk have a history of taunting each other on social media.
Greenlight Capital’s Einhorn has long bet that Tesla’s share price would drop, holding onto a view that has hurt his portfolio. In January, Einhorn told his investors in a letter that his negative view on Tesla is reflected by his purchase of put options. In the first quarter Greenlight Capital lost 21.5%, an investor said.
Tesla reported a first quarter profit of $1.24 per share, beating analysts’ forecasts for a loss of 36 cents per share. Strong demand for its Model 3 vehicle and the sale of regulatory credits helped fuel the gain. Tesla’s share price has surged 91% since January, recovering quickly from a sharp slump in March when stocks tumbled amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Aurora Ellis)