The meteoric rise of Tesla shares that recently pushed the company's value over US$100 billion ($151.6b) could turn into a supercharged payday for CEO Elon Musk.
Stock in Tesla Inc. rose another 4.1 per cent Wednesday, pushing the market value of the electric vehicle and solar panel maker past a critical milestone in Musk's pay package. He could get a stock options package worth over US$371 million.
• Tesla's soaring share price defies the bears
Tesla shares closed at US$569.56 on Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalisation of US$102.7b.
Shares have tripled in value since May, meaning Tesla's market capitalisation now exceeds the value of Ford and General Motors, combined.
For Musk, hitting US$100b in market value triggers an option to buy 1.69 million shares of Tesla stock for US$350.02 per share. If he sells the shares, he would make just over US$371m.
But for the options to vest, the market capitalisation has to average above US$100b for the next six months, and it has to be above US$100b for the next 30 business days, according to the compensation packages detailed in company filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk could get more stock payouts for every additional US$50b increase in market capitalisation. By meeting ambitious market capitalisation and operational milestones, he could earn more than US$50b over the next decade if that value hits US$650b.
In the third quarter, Tesla posted a surprising US$143m profit, raising hopes that the company, which also makes battery storage units, could finally be turning the corner to profitability.
But Tesla has posted mostly losses during its first decade as a publicly held company, and it lost US$1.1b during the first half of last year. The company reports fourth-quarter results on January 29.
Earlier this year the company said it delivered a record of about 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter and about 367,500 for the full year in 2019.
Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, had earlier projected deliveries of between 360,000 and 400,000 units worldwide.
Also, on Wednesday, the state of Michigan confirmed that Tesla had reached a lawsuit settlement allowing it to sell and service vehicles in the state.