BYD's PV, battery unit struggles in H1

Chinese battery and automotive group BYD’s net profit slid 15.5% in the first half to 360.7 million yuan ($58.6m), as its core vehicle business slumped and its rechargeable battery and PV division’s sales fell slightly to roughly 2.4 billion yuan.

Its battery and PV business accounted for 9% of the group’s turnover in the six months to 30 June, 2014, down from 10% in the first half of 2013.

The Shenzhen-based company — which produces lithium ferrous phosphate (LFP) and solar batteries, the latter of which are used by PV developers for storage purposes — secured orders for 17MWh of energy-storage products in the US market in the first half.

Revenue from BYD’s electric-vehicle division spiked to 2.7 billion yuan, but its overall vehicle sales — which account for approximately 47% of the group's total revenue — fell 6.5% to 11.94 billion yuan, weighing heavily on its overall profitability.

It said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange that its rechargeable battery and photovoltaic division is “relatively stable,” but acknowledged that the profitability of its solar business will remain under “high pressure” in the third quarter.

BYD, which recently announced plans to manufacture PV modules in Brazil, said it would continue to expand its energy-storage business in overseas markets.

But the company, which is 10% owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, also said it expects its group net profit to plunge between 12% to 22% in the nine months to the end of September.

Earlier this summer, BYD agreed to supply PV modules for a 65MW solar project that Spanish developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) is building in Uruguay.

And in May, BYD revealed plans to participate in the development of a 50MW PV plant in the Indian state of Gujarat, its biggest solar project in the country to date.