Elon Musk's fortune soared $570 million Wednesday as shares of Tesla Motors, the electric-car company he co-founded in 2003, rallied 14 percent after posting second-quarter results that surpassed analysts' estimates on a surge in Model S sedan deliveries.
Musk has a net worth of $7.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, up more than 220 percent year-to- date.
The company yesterday reported an operating profit of 20 cents a share, including 15 cents related to a leasing program. Even without that provision, results exceeded the average of 10 analysts' estimates for a 20-cent loss, according data compiled by Bloomberg. On its operating basis, Tesla said it will make money all year, even as it expands to Europe and Asia.
"He's proving his critics wrong," Jack Ablin, who helps oversee about $66 billion as chief investment officer of BMO Private Bank in Chicago, said by phone. "He's delivering on the top line, he's selling more product. He's able to extract a premium price for an electric car."
Shares of the Palo Alto-based company closed at $153.48 in New New York, bringing its market value to more than $18.2 billion. Model S deliveries totaled 5,150 in the quarter, topping the company's target of 4,500, and Musk said Wednesday, an annual selling rate of 40,000 by the end of next year looks "pretty safe."
Musk also runs rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, and is chairman of San Jose-based solar-power provider SolarCity.
"He's one of these guys who has multiple ideas that have been successful," said Karl Brauer, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, California. "He's done it two, three times depending on how you want to define it. Theoretically, it's the American dream."
Tesla's Model S, priced from $69,900 before a $7,500 tax credit, received the highest rating ever from Consumer Reports, which praised its sporty handling and luxury interior. Musk said the sedan is winning customers who had owned Toyota Motor's Prius and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Toyota and Daimler are investors in Tesla and buyers of its battery packs. Daimler are investors in Tesla and buyers of its battery packs.
The company's Model X sport-utility vehicle remains on track to begin sales late next year, Musk said, adding that its development is "swiftly rising" among the company's priorities. The SUV will be priced about the same as the Model S, he said last month in a post on Twitter that has since been deleted.
Tesla began delivering the first Model S sedans to customers in Europe this week and is preparing to export to Asia late in 2013. Musk, who is also the company's biggest investor, has said that over time two-thirds of Tesla's sales will come from overseas markets.