BYD forecasts steep profit decline in first quarter 

Coronavirus hits sales at China’s biggest electric vehicle maker

by Nadeem Xu
BYD forecasts steep profit decline in first quarter 
BYD’s Blade NEV.

(ATF) BYD, China's biggest new energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturer, has forecast a slump in first-quarter earnings as the coronavirus epidemic takes a bite out of domestic car sales.

The Shenzhen-based carmaker expects net profit to fall between 80% and 93%, year-on-year, it said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange last week.

It forecasts net profit of between 50 million yuan and 150 million yuan ($7.1m to $21.2m), compared with 749.7m yuan in the same period a year ago.

The coronavirus epidemic and slowing economic growth have had a significant impact on auto market demand, BYD said.

In the first quarter, NEV sales plunged almost 70% to 22,192 units while sales of gasoline-powered vehicles fell about 12% to 39,081 units, BYD said.

The company has repurposed some of its production lines to produce medical products to help in the global effort to stem the virus’ spread. BYD has even sold masks made at its factories to the US, which has partially blacklisted the firm.