Buffett-Backed BYD Predicts Profit Rebound as Outbreak Eases

Source: By Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2020

BYD Co., the Chinese electric-vehicle maker backed by Warren Buffett, predicted a rebound in profit as an easing in the coronavirus outbreak revives demand in the world’s largest car market. The stock jumped.

First-half net income will rise as much as 24%, the company said in a statement late Tuesday. That’s even after first-quarter net income slumped 85% and sales shrank 35%.

“In the second quarter of 2020, the impact of Covid-19 on the domestic market is expected to gradually subside, and the automobile industry will recover steadily,” BYD said. “NEV sales and revenue of the group will ride out the downturn, thereby driving the group’s revenue to resume growth.”

The comments are a sign of confidence for electric vehicles, which have faced a host of challenges including a plunge in oil prices that makes internal-combustion cars cheaper to drive. EV sales have languished in China since the middle of 2019, when the government scaled back subsidies for the industry.

Shares of BYD rose as much as 7.5%, the biggest jump in more than a month, and traded up 7.4% as of 10:12 a.m. in Hong Kong.

The Shenzhen-based company said it also expects revenue to rise at its handset-component and monorail businesses, with surgical-mask production contributing to profit growth.

“We revised our forecast based on first half guidance to factor in the growth of the handset business and contribution from mask production,” Jefferies analysts including Alexious Lee said in a note Wednesday, raising BYD’s yuan-denominated shares to buy from hold.

In another sign of a rebound, registrations of Tesla Inc. vehicles rose to a record last month in China after the electric-car maker resumed production at its Shanghai plant, which was temporarily idled because of the virus outbreak.

— With assistance by Sharon Chen, and Ying Tian