Electric automaker Tesla’s third-largest shareholder stands ready to fork over more cash to the company if need be.
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Despite recent controversies surrounding CEO Elon Musk, in an interview with The London Times on Monday, Scottish fund manager Baillie Gifford – which owns about an 8 percent stake in the company – said it stands by its investment.
“If [Musk] needs more capital we would be willing to back him,” Nick Thomas, partner at Baillie Gifford, said.
Elon Musk is Tesla’s largest shareholder, owning about one-fifth of shares. While Musk has repeatedly denied reports the automaker needs to raise cash, during the company’s third-quarter earnings call last week he left open the possibility that his viewpoint on the matter could change in the future.
The comments come despite a number of recent controversies, including a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after Musk was accused of misleading investors for a tweet claiming he had secured a funding deal to take the company private. Both Tesla and Musk faced $20 million in civil penalties. In a separate post fired off over the weekend, the mercurial entrepreneur appeared to claim that the fine was “worth it.
Last week Tesla reported that it turned a profit for the first time during its most recent quarter – fulfilling a promise Musk made to investors to do so before the end of the year.
Tesla said it produced a weekly average of 4,300 of its flagship Model 3 sedans in the third quarter. Model 3 production has been a challenge for the automaker, which has made a concerted effort to ramp up capacity.
Tesla is reportedly facing a criminal probe over the truthfulness of those production figures, however, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The FBI is said to be investigating whether Tesla misstated Model 3 production figures going back to 2017.
Shares are more than 8 percent higher so far this year and nearly 30 percent higher over the past five days.