Published: Thu, January 16, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Tesla says plans to open China design and research center

Tesla says plans to open China design and research center

Its been an fantastic run for the electric automaker to close out the final quarter of 2019.

That was also the week that the vehicle maker's stock market value hit almost $89 billion, eclipsing the sum of General Motors' and Ford's values for the first time.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk dances during the Tesla China-made Model 3 Delivery Ceremony in Shanghai.

Tesla had "accelerated" the construction of the Shanghai factory in response to the trade dispute between the United States and China, which has raised prices in China for vehicles imported from the US. The factory allows Tesla to tap into the world's biggest auto market without being subjected to steep import tariffs. The EV maker's first Gigafactory outside the U.S. was completed in 10 months on the outskirts of Shanghai. If Tesla's stock prices and market capitalisation value is anything to go by then Tesla and its CEO have never had this good.

For Musk's subsequent tranches to vest under the terms of the 2018 package, the company's market cap would have to continue to sustainably rise by $50 billion increments over the agreement's 10-year period, with the billionaire earning the full package if Tesla's market capitalization reaches $650 billion and the electric auto maker achieves several revenue and profit targets.

The board also added that Musk was able to achieve the company goals and 'stretch out possibilities.' Additionally, since 2012, Musk was able to lay out the goals and hit nearly 90 percent of everything, resulting in 4.5 million options he now holds. This means that if the company's market cap increases up to $650 billion, Elon Musk would receive the full record-breaking compensation package, of which the value could surge up to $56 billion in stock awards. He famously declines any cash bonus and only earns a small base salary under the minimum wage law in California, where Tesla is headquartered. One such milestone was to hit the $100 billion mark, which Tesla is set to get.

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Tesla's "adjusted" EBITDA excludes stock-based compensation, which in the first nine months of 2019 reached $617 million.

Shares of Tesla have doubled in price over the past three months, paving the way for a massive payday for CEO Elon Musk.

"This is the very definition of pay for performance", said Ian Keas to Reuters.

"But is he the only individual that could serve in that seat as chief executive and deliver that value to shareholders? That's the billion-dollar question".

At the time the scheme was introduced, Tesla was valued at US$59 billion, and barely profitable. Institutional Shareholder Services advised investors against accepting the pay package deal at the time.

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