BYD Q4 net surges on asset sale, outlook seen tough

BEIJING Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:48am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK) 002594.SZ, a Chinese carmaker backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, reported a jump in fourth quarter net income due to an asset sale, but full year earnings plunged on weak car sales, according to its annual report.

Analysts believe BYD faces a tough 2012 mainly because its core auto business lags many of its domestic rivals amid a market slowdown.

In a stock exchange filing on Sunday, BYD said its net profit fell to 1.38 billion yuan ($220 million) in 2011 from 2.52 billion yuan in 2010.

The figures were similar to its preliminary results announced in February, when it posted a 1.4 billion yuan net profit.

"Reviewing 2011, the global economy was highly volatile," BYD said.

"Sales volume of the group's automobiles declined during the reporting period as compared to 2010 due to factors such as significant slowing growth of the domestic automobile market and the decrease in overall market share of domestic brands," it said.

From October to December, BYD's net profit was 1.03 billion yuan, up sharply from 90.9 million yuan in the same period the year before, based on Reuters' calculations. It booked a one-off gain of 430 million yuan in November after selling off most of its holding in a subsidiary.

BYD's Hong Kong-listed shares closed at HK$21 on Friday, down 2.33 percent ahead of the release of its annual earnings, lagging a 1.11 percent fall of the Hang Seng Index .HSI.

($1 = 6.3227 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Fang Yan and Ken Wills; Editing by Mark Potter)

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