Tesla over­takes Toy­ota as most valu­able car man­u­fac­turer

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Olivia Rudgard in San Fran­cisco

TESLA has left Toy­ota in the rear-view mirror to be­come the world’s most valu­able car com­pany.

The Cal­i­for­nia-based elec­tric ve­hi­cle maker is now worth al­most $206bn (£165bn) – $3bn more than the Ja­panese au­tomaker.

The mo­ment marks a new high for the com­pany’s stock, which has been ris­ing for the past six months amid bet­ter than ex­pected fi­nan­cial re­sults and ve­hi­cle de­liv­ery num­bers.

Ini­tially hit by the Covid-19 out­break in China, the com­pany re­cov­ered quickly, cap­i­tal­is­ing on de­mand for its cars in the coun­try, and has been able to re­open all its fac­to­ries and be­gin de­liv­er­ing its new­est car, the Model Y SUV.

It is due to re­lease its new­est de­liv­ery fig­ures for the sec­ond quar­ter later this week. It comes as the com­pany dis­closed that it is pay­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Elon Musk al­most $1m to in­sure the board of di­rec­tors against law­suits for three months.

The un­usual ar­range­ment fol­lows an­other Tesla dis­clo­sure ear­lier this year that had al­lowed the chief ex­ec­u­tive to per­son­ally in­dem­nify board mem­bers.

In a fil­ing with reg­u­la­tor, the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, Tesla said it would re­sume search­ing for con­ven­tional li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance but that Mr Musk would con­tinue with this ar­range­ment for an­other 90 days.

“In re­turn, Tesla will pay Mr Musk a one-time fee of $972,361,” the com­pany said, adding that the search for a new in­surer had been de­layed be­cause of the Covid-19 pan­demic.

The in­sur­ance is­sues fol­low a se­ries of le­gal claims against the com­pany and its board, in­clud­ing a law­suit over the ac­qui­si­tion of so­lar panel com­pany So­larCity, which in Jan­uary was re­solved in a $60m set­tle­ment by all the di­rec­tors other than Mr Musk.

In an April up­date to its an­nual re­port from last year, Tesla said it had been un­able to find a well-priced quote for the cov­er­age from an in­surer. In­stead, Mr Musk had agreed to per­son­ally pro­vide cov­er­age sub­stan­tially equiv­a­lent to such a pol­icy for a year.

Crit­ics of the com­pany said it was ev­i­dence of Mr Musk’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate level of in­flu­ence on the com­pany.

Tesla is pay­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Elon Musk $972,361 to in­sure the board of di­rec­tors against law­suits

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