Tesla investors approve stock split; Musk to add factories
DETROIT (AP) — Tesla shareholders on Thursday approved a three-for-one stock split, a move that will make the company’s shares more accessible to smaller investors. Preliminary results of the shareholder vote were announced at the electric car and solar panel maker’s annual meeting at its new factory in Austin, Texas. CEO Elon Musk also discussed at the meeting a major factory expansion in the future as the company moves toward a goal of making 20 million vehicles per year. It now produces around 1.5 million per year. Musk said Tesla might announce another factory site this year, and it expects to have about a dozen in the future. Currently the company has assembly plants in Fremont, California; Austin; Berlin and Shanghai. Musk joked that many had suggested Canada as a site for the next new plant. The company made its 3 millionth vehicle in the past few weeks, Musk said. Tesla stock closed Thursday at $925.90, down 12.4% so far this year, but it almost completed a split itself, tumbling mo re than 40% by May after Musk made a $44 billion bid to buy Twitter in April. Investors were worried that Musk would be distracted from Tesla if he purchased the social media platform. But Musk backed out of the deal in July and Twitter sued him to force him to make the purchase. A trial is scheduled for October in Delaware Chancery Court. Tesla stock began to recover in July, boosted by better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. Tesla announced plans for the split in late March when shares were trading over $1,000. It will not affect Tesla’s overall market value or its status as the world’s most valuable automaker. Share splits are used by companies when their stock price gets too high for retail investors to buy individual shares, or when a company wants more shares to exist in the marketplace to make the stock more liquid to trade. Tesla has said it was trying to accomplish both of these goals: giving its employees greater quantities of shares as well as making the stock more accessib le to retail investors. Musk sold some shares of Tesla for the Twitter purchase and had planned on using other shares as collateral. Shareholders also re-elected Ira Ehrenpreis and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson to the Tesla board.