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BYD shares skid on profit warning

By Liza Lin and Winnie Zhu | China Daily | Updated: 2011-07-14 07:56

 BYD shares skid on profit warning

BYD Co cited the end of tax breaks for small cars and tougher competition for a decline in vehicle sales for 11 straight months through June. Shen Jing / for China Daily

Vehicle producer cites halt of incentives, rising competition

SHANGHAI - BYD Co fell in Hong Kong and Shenzhen trading after the Chinese automaker, partly owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said first-half profit might tumble by up to 95 percent.

BYD dropped as much as 6.7 percent and was trading at HK$22.35 ($2.87) at mid-morning in Hong Kong, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index up 0.7 percent. The stock slid as much as 3.1 percent in Shenzhen.

First-half net income may have been 121.1 million yuan ($18.7 million) to 363.2 million yuan, compared with 2.42 billion yuan a year earlier, Shenzhen-based BYD said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday.

The company posted an 84 percent decline in first-quarter profit.

The carmaker, whose vehicle sales fell for 11 straight months through June, said the end of tax incentives for small cars crimped demand. The company also cited increasing competition.

"BYD car sales dipped as they couldn't find a model that sold as well as their best-selling F3," said Harry Chen, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co in Shenzhen, referring to China's top passenger sedan by sales for the past two years.

"The new products they introduced were more of a facelift without any technological improvement."

BYD's deliveries dropped 8 percent last month to 32,515 vehicles as demand slowed and rivals, including General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co, introduced new models.

The decline in June compared with a 6.2 percent industry-wide increase in car deliveries to dealerships, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said last week.

Chinese auto sales have increased at a slower rate this year after surging 32 percent to a record in 2010, as the government phased out incentives and imposed purchasing restrictions to curb traffic congestion.

BYD's handset component and assembly business also declined because one of the company's major customers deferred some sales orders, according to the filing.

The company said the financial information was prepared in line with Chinese accounting standards.

Berkshire Vice-Chairman Charles Munger said on July 2 that BYD has the ability to recover from missteps and that its executives "just put their heads down and try harder" when they fail.

BYD shares have dropped 45 percent this year, the biggest decline on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index.

Bloomberg News

(China Daily 07/14/2011 page17)

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