Business / Companies

Companies Q1 reports tell changing patterns of economy

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-06 10:06

BEIJING - The quickest way to gain insight into China's economic development is to check the financial reports of the country's listed companies. Performance sheets of Chinese companies in the first quarter tell stories of the undergoing economic restructuring.

A total of 2,790 companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges disclosed their first quarter performance sheets at the end of April, showing average net profits grew more than 5 percent in general but with widening divergence among sectors.

Restructuring pain

Although more than 60 percent of the listed companies posted profit growth in the first quarter, about 20 percent, most of them in resource-intensive traditional industries, suffered losses amid economic downward pressure.

The biggest loser so far has been the Aluminum Corporation of China, the country's largest smelter of industrial metal, which reported 880 million yuan ($143.84 million) in net losses for the first three months this year.

Other lackluster performers include those in the non-ferrous metals, mining and chemicals sectors.

The combined first quarter losses of large and medium-sized companies grew to more than 11 billion yuan, up over three billion yuan from a year ago, according to the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA).

Sdic Xinji Energy Co Ltd, a coal mining company, reported a fall of over 1,000 percent in the first quarter, citing faltering coal prices.

Chinese economy expanded at 7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2015, with the growth of other major indicators including industrial output and fixed asset investment dropping markedly.

"The slowing economy has weighed on traditional sectors burdened with overcapacity, but the silver lining is that it may push them to reform, as many companies have revealed their restructuring efforts to reduce cost or upgrade technology," said Yang Zhiming, an analyst with Founder Securities.

Emerging start-ups

In contrast to the struggling industry mammoths, China's emerging industries such as computers, electronics and telecommunications reported stellar growth.

East Money Information Co Ltd, an information service provider, saw its profit growth over 1,000 percent in the first quarter and has enjoyed 11 days of maximum share increases during the past two weeks.

The sound growth of high-tech and emerging industries has emboldened investors. The ChiNext Index, China's Nasdaq-style board that tracks growth enterprises, surged 58.6 percent in the first quarter on the back of technology and environment-related shares.

"The government's string of policies to support public innovation and massive entrepreneurship and stimulate consumption have powered the emerging sectors' rise," Yang said.

Yang believes the traditional sectors will gradually recover from the depression as the economy bottoms out and grows steadily as their restructuring efforts take effect.

The top leadership pledged to maintain the continuity and stability of macro policies, and quicken the pace of reform such as reform of State-owned enterprises, according to a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee at the end of April.

While emphasizing efficient investment, the central authorities decided to further tap consumption potential to foster new growth drivers, such as the service sector, as well as supporting technological upgrading.

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