Net profits at China's central government-owned firms fall 58.8% year-on-year in first quarter

BEIJING (Reuters) - Total net profits earned by enterprises owned by China’s central government during the first three months of 2020 plunged 58.8% from a year earlier, the state assets regulator said on Monday.

The unprecedented drop was due to profit declines in the aviation, autos, tourism and oil industries which were ravaged by the coronavirus crisis, Peng Huagang, a spokesman for the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), told a news conference in Beijing.

China will make efforts to prevent state capital-invested firms from going bankrupt, reducing pay for workers and issuing layoffs, Peng added.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Christian Schmollinger