Buffett-backed BYD's profit sinks 85% in Q1 as virus hits market

BEIJING, April 29 (Reuters) - Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD Co Ltd,, which is backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, on Tuesday reported a 85% drop in the first quarter net profit as coronavirus epidemic hit the world’s biggest auto market.

BYD reported 112.6 million yuan ($15.92 million) net profit in the first three months this year, down from 749.7 million yuan a year earlier. Its revenue dropped 35% year-on-year to 19.68 billion yuan in the first quarter.

Its profit fell 42% last year as electric subsidies cut hit market demands.

Sales of the Shenzhen-based car company, which has partnerships with Japan’s top automaker Toyota and German Daimler’s partner in China, fell by 48% to 61,273 vehicles in the first quarter.

In a stock exchange filing it expected profit in the first six months this year to rise by 10% to 23.8%, as it thinks sales will gradually recover off a coronavirus low.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; editing by David Evans