October 29, 2015 / 11:01 AM / 3 years ago

Automakers BYD, SAIC defy China market slowdown in Q3 earnings

* BYD profit up 169 pct excluding gain from electronic unit’s sale

* SAIC net profit up 3.8 pct

* Auto industry bottomed out in Q3 - analyst

BEIJING, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Chinese automaker BYD Co , backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, reported on Thursday a more than doubling of its quarterly net profit excluding special items, on the back of surging green-energy car sales.

The Shenzhen-based automaker’s performance comes as China’s car market, the world’s biggest, has been weighed down by the slowest economy in 25 years.

BYD’s results and a nearly 4 percent profit rise posted separately by China’s largest car maker SAIC Motor Co are bolstering analysts’ case that the car market is poised for a rebound.

“Third quarter probably marks the lowest, the bottom out,” said Ka Leong Lo, a Hong Kong-based analyst with Maybank Kim Eng.

BYD and SAIC’s earnings reports follow weak results from Great Wall Motor Co and BAIC Motor Corp, with brokerage China Securities predicting profits will fall 20 percent for the industry overall in the third quarter.

Chinese auto sales snapped six consecutive months of declines to post an increase in September, although year-to-date sales have increased a meagre 0.3 percent in a market accustomed to double-digit growth.

The government’s decision to cut the sales tax by half on cars with 1.6 litre or lower engines from Oct. 1 is expected to help drive a revival.

SAIC stands to benefit from the tax cut as vehicles it makes through separate ventures with Volkswagen and General Motors account for four of the top-10 selling cars with engines under 1.6 litres, according to IHS Automotive registration data.

BYD’s quarterly profit jumped 169 percent excluding special items. Including the sale of an electronics subsidiary, the profit jump was much sharper.

SAIC’s profit rose 3.8 percent for July to September. Three analysts Reuters spoke to said the automaker could post a drop in profit. Most analysts do not make hard predictions for quarterly results. ($1 = 6.3552 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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