BYD posts 72.2 percent fall in first-half profit as Beijing cuts subsidies

FILE PHOTO - A man walks past a BYD store in Wuhan, Hubei province, March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's BYD Co Ltd 002594.SZ1211.HK, backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, posted a 72.2 percent fall in first-half profit on Wednesday, after Beijing in early 2018 reined in subsidies and other policy support for green energy cars.

The Shenzhen-based electric car maker, whose products include battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, posted a net profit of 479 million yuan ($70 million), down from 1.72 billion yuan a year earlier.

BYD sold 75,800 new energy vehicles between January and June, up 121 percent from a year earlier.

It sold 138,700 fuel cars, up 10.73 percent.

Revenue rose to 54.15 billion yuan from 45.04 billion.

The company said, however, that it expects profitability on new energy vehicles to improve in the second half citing new subsidy standards that were put into effect in June.

BYD, whose models include the Song series and PHEV vehicle Qin, has been trying to move to completely electric-powered vehicles. However, it is facing battery shortages and is in the midst of building several new battery production bases.

There have been many new entrants to China’s NEV sector in recent years, prompting the government to start warning of overcapacity risks and potential “blind development” in the sector.

($1 = 6.8271 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; editing by Stephen Coates and Jason Neely