Warren Buffett-Backed BYD Posts Weak 1Q Earnings

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BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) (SHE:002594), the Chinese manufacturer of automobiles, batteries, and phone components reported weak first quarter earnings results on Thursday. The Chinese automaker is backed by Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), which owns a 10% stake in the company.

For the first quarter, BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) (SHE:002594) reported that its earnings declined by 89% to 11.97 million yuan ($1.92 million) from 112 million yuan in the same period a year ago.

The Chinese automaker forecasted that it will be able to deliver earnings in the range of 350 million yuan to 490 million in the first half of this year, and expected to experience a decline in vehicle sales during the period. BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) (SHE:002594) posted earnings of 426.9 million yuan in the first half of last year.

In 2013, BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) (SHE:002594) reported a net income of 553 million yuan and its sales were 49.8 billion yuan.

BYD loses market share to foreign automakers

BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) (SHE:002594) is popular for its electric vehicles, but it is still dependent on traditional gas-powered cars. The company and other Chinese automakers including Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (HKG:0175) and Chery Automobile Co., Ltd are facing strong competition and losing market share to American and European car manufacturers including General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Volkswagen AG (OTCMKTS:VLKAY) (ETR:VOW) (FRA:VOW).

Canada approves sale of BYD all-electric bus

Earlier this month, BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) (SHE:002594) announced that Canada approved the sale and operation of its all-electric bus. According to the company, its BYD Electric Transit Bus received a certification from the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS), and it is listed in the Vehicle Manufacturers Registry of Transport Canada.

Last year, the Chinese automaker said it will manufacture electric buses and large scale batteries in Lancaster, California. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, BYD Motors Inc. has already hired more than 60 American workers to support its BYD Electric Transit Bus and Energy Module factories in the area. The company is expected to deliver its first electric buses by the end of this month.  The company expects to create 100 new jobs by the end of this year.

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