NIO's loss may continue to widen in the fourth quarter as investment in research and development of new models and new technologies accelerates.
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NIO's earnings report today showed that it beat market expectations for revenue in the third quarter, but widened its loss. In an analyst's view, this will continue in the fourth quarter as the company's R&D ramps up.
Commenting on NIO's results, Ping An Securities analyst Wang De'an said the company spent about RMB 2.76 billion on R&D in the first three quarters, while it had previously planned to spend RMB 5 billion on R&D this year, which means the cost could reach RMB 2.24 billion in the fourth quarter.
The significant increase in R&D expenses in the fourth quarter will cause NIO's loss to continue to widen, the analyst said.
NIO's revenue in the third quarter was RMB 9.81 billion, up 117 percent from a year earlier and up 16 percent from the second quarter. That was higher than the RMB 9.316 billion expected by analysts in a Bloomberg survey and RMB 4.526 billion in the same quarter last year.
The company reported a net loss of RMB 835 million in the third quarter, down 20 percent year-on-year but up 42 percent from the second quarter. Ping An Securities attributed this to an increase in expenses.
NIO spent RMB1.19 billion on research and development in the third quarter, increasing about RMB 310 million from the second quarter. Its selling, administrative and general expenses reached RMB 1.82 billion in the third quarter, an increase of about RMB 330 million compared to the second quarter, the analyst noted.
The increase in NIO's R&D expenses was mainly due to an increase in R&D staff and investment in R&D for new platform models and autonomous driving technology, while the increase in selling, administrative and general expenses were mainly due to increased sales staff costs and sales and service network expansion, the analyst said.
The analyst also believes that NIO had cash reserves of about RMB 47 billion as of the end of the third quarter, which will support it to further increase its investment in product development, capacity enhancement, charging and battery swap system and sales and service networks.
It is worth noting that NIO also mentioned in the analyst conference call after announcing its earnings that it has doubled its R&D staff this year, and there is a climbing process for many projects, new products, and new technologies, and a faster investment growth can be seen from the fourth quarter onwards.
NIO currently has many new models in parallel development process, and the related expenses will be gradually reflected in the financial statements as the product development progresses, according to William Li, the company's founder, chairman and CEO.