Tesla taps market rally keg, announces $5B stock sale

Tesla said Tuesday it will sell up to $5 billion in new stock as the company seeks to take advantage of an unprecedented run up in its share price.

Tesla will sell the shares from “time to time,” through an “at-the-market” offering program, the company said Tuesday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Banks, including Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities, Capital Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc and Morgan Stanley, will sell the shares at Tesla’s direction.

Tesla shares opened lower Tuesday on the news. Shares were down 4.25% in morning trading and then recovered. Tesla’s share price is currently down 0.34% to its adjusted split price of $469.40.

Tesla didn’t lay out a detailed plan for this potential injection of capital. Instead, the company said in a filing that it intends to use the net proceeds “to further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.”

There will be plenty of areas to spend this new capital. The company is in the midst of several construction projects, including factories in Berlin and near Austin, in addition to its day-to-day operations.

Tesla has already taken steps to harness the power of its skyrocketing share price. Last month, Tesla’s board approved splitting its shares 5 for 1.  The split announcement came after a sharp rally in the value of Tesla equity in recent quarters.

Tesla’s share price was $2,213.40 on Friday before the 5-for-1 stock split went into effect on Monday. The opening price post split was $444.61. The lower price didn’t dampen the momentum as retail investors took the opportunity to snap up shares. Tesla’s adjusted price split stock rose 12.6% on Monday to close at $498.32.

A year ago, Tesla’s stock price was around $227.45 (or $45 based on the adjusted price). It had bopped along rising and falling as volatile stock is want to do, until March when it started the upward trend. Since March 18, Tesla’s stock price has gained 598%.