Author / Xiao Yisi
Facing the complex market environment, how was the operating performance of auto companies in the first half of the year? The first financial reporter counted the semi-annual reports of 8 major listed car companies and found that, unlike last year’s annual reports, even in the face of a high-pressure environment, Chinese car companies still showed strong resilience, and the situation of increasing revenue but not increasing profits Better, but the earning power shows a state of polarization.
Among them, BYD’s net profit in the first half of the year, which completely abandoned the fuel vehicle business, increased by more than 2 times year-on-year, surpassing the profit of last year in one fell swoop. The gross profit per vehicle was nearly 31,500 yuan, ranking first among statistical car companies. hold on tightHuaweiCelis, which has a smart car-making model, is still “losing money and making a profit”, with a net loss of over 1.7 billion yuan, an increase of nearly 2.6 times year-on-year; while BAIC Blue Valley also experienced a negative gross profit per bicycle, selling a car The gross profit loss exceeded 9,000 yuan.
Looking at the entire new energy vehicle industry chain, in terms of earning power, “Di Wang” can only “keep his head down” in front of “Ning Wang” and “Li Wang”. Overall, industry profits tend to shift upstream.
Divided earning power
In the first half of this year, even under the premise of facing severe tests, most listed car companies still achieved year-on-year growth in operating income. Only Changan Automobile and SAIC Group experienced a certain degree of negative growth. Among them, SAIC Group has been greatly affected by the epidemic in Shanghai this year. .
Although the operating income performance is relatively optimistic, in terms of profitability, various auto companies have shown a phenomenon of polarization. Among the 8 car companies counted, 50% of the net profit attributable to the parent has achieved a significant year-on-year increase, namely Changan Automobile, BYD, Great Wall Motor, and GAC Group. Among them, the growth rate of the first two car companies exceeded 2 times.
However, the year-on-year increase in net profit cannot simply be equated with the speed at which these four auto companies have improved their ability to make money from selling cars, because both Changan Automobile and Great Wall Motor have generated large non-recurring gains and losses during the reporting period. Among them, Avita, a subsidiary of Changan Automobile, increased its capital and shares, which contributed 2.128 billion yuan in net profit to Changan Automobile, accounting for more than 36% of the total profit. In addition, the current net profit of Great Wall Motors due to exchange rate gains and losses was as high as 2.675 billion yuan, accounting for 47.8% of the net profit. Excluding the above-mentioned non-recurring gains and losses, the year-on-year growth rate of Changan Automobile’s net profit has more than doubled, but Great Wall Motor’s net profit has experienced a year-on-year decline of 17%.
In addition, the growth of GAC Group’s net profit in the first half of this year was mainly from investment income from joint ventures, which contributed 8.417 billion yuan to its net profit, an increase of nearly 2.1 billion yuan compared to 6.325 billion yuan in the same period last year.
Among the four auto companies, although BYD’s net profit attributable to its parent is the smallest in absolute terms, its auto business has the fastest growth momentum.
In the first half of this year, BYD’s cumulative sales were 641,400 units, a year-on-year increase of 314.9%, surpassing last year’s 603,800 units, and beating Tesla to become the global leader in new energy vehicle sales. In BYD’s business segment, the proportion of revenue from automobiles, automobile-related products and other products in the group’s total revenue also increased to 72.55%, compared with 52.2% in the same period last year, an increase of more than 20 percentage points.
Not only that, with the scale effect, the profitability of new energy vehicles has long been different from what it used to be. For example, Tesla has achieved stable profitability after years of losses. Since the first quarterly profit in the third quarter of 2019, Tesla has been profitable for 12 consecutive quarters in the second quarter of this year. And Tesla’s profitability broke out this year, earning $5.57 billion (equivalent to RMB 38.4 billion) in the first half of the year.
BYD’s ability to make money by completely abandoning fuel vehicles has also become stronger. The gross profit per bicycle in the first half of the year reached 31,500 yuan. In addition, there are two companies with a gross profit of more than 20,000 yuan per bicycle, namely SAIC Motor and Great Wall Motors.
While the leader of new energy vehicles has entered the “harvesting period”, other new energy vehicle companies are still in a state of continuous investment. Among the 8 car companies in the statistics, only two car companies, BAIC Blue Valley and Celis, suffered huge losses. In the first half of the year, the net profit attributable to the parent company was -2.181 billion yuan and -1.727 billion yuan respectively, a year-on-year increase of 20.28% and 25.897 billion yuan respectively. %.
The sales volume of these two car companies is also in the bottom line. The sales volume of BAIC Blue Valley in the first half of the year was only 17,000, and the gross profit of selling a car was more than 9,000 yuan. In the first half of the year, Celis sold 125,700 vehicles in total, and the sales of hot-selling new energy vehicles relying on the Wenjie brand reached 45,600 units. Although the gross profit of the bicycle was positive, it was still “losing money and making a profit”, with a net loss of nearly 14,000 yuan per bicycle.
Profits are moving upstream
The remarks of Zeng Qinghong, chairman of GAC Group, have caused extensive discussion in the industry. He said, “GAC has half of its installed capacity and Ningde, and the cost of power batteries has accounted for 40% to 60% of the cost of the car. I am now for Ningde. Time to work.”
In the past, there were not many cases of OEMs “complaining” to supply chain companies. The overall background is that upstream companies are “siphoning” the profits of the entire industry chain. As for the claim that the OEMs “work for the Ningde era”, Wu Kai, chief scientist of the Ningde era, responded, “Although our company has not lost money this year, it is basically struggling on the edge of being slightly profitable. Where does the profit go? Everyone can imagine.”
However, the semi-annual report shows that although the profitability of the Ningde era has also been weakened, it still has an advantage compared with OEMs. In the first half of this year, the operating income of CATL was 112.97 billion yuan, which was 37.6 billion yuan less than that of BYD, but the net profit attributable to the parent reached 8.17 billion yuan, nearly 4.6 billion yuan higher than that of BYD.
In the first half of 2022, the installed capacity of Ningde era power batteries reached 69GWh, and the gross profit of 1GWh power batteries exceeded 300 million yuan. Assuming that the average power battery of an electric vehicle is 50 degrees, a 1GWh power battery can hold 20,000 vehicles, which means that CATL will earn an average of 15,000 yuan in gross profit from each vehicle.
And this is not just a struggle between “Ning Wang” and “Di Wang”. According to data from Oriental Fortune.com, in the first half of this year, the average gross profit margin of the automobile industry was 10.27%, while the average gross profit margin of the battery industry was 19.54%. 9.27 percentage points higher than the former.
Coincidentally, at the recently held World New Energy Vehicle Conference, Chen Hong, chairman of SAIC Motor, also “spit bitterness”, saying that in the past year or so, lithium carbonate has soared nearly 10 times, and the middle and lower reaches of the industry chain such as OEMs. Enterprises are all working for upstream mine owners.
Not long after Chen Hong’s ranting, Tianqi Lithium, the “king of lithium”, announced its financial report for the first half of the year. The data shows that Tianqi Lithium’s operating income was 14.29 billion yuan, and its net profit attributable to the parent reached 10.3 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of over 100 million yuan. 119 times, and the net profit margin is 72.24%, ranking first in the A-share lithium mining sector, and far higher than Kweichow Moutai’s 51.7%.
It is reported that the cost of battery-grade lithium carbonate in Tianqi Lithium Industry is 65,000 to 70,000 yuan / ton. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in the first half of this year, the average price of battery-grade lithium carbonate was 453,000 yuan per ton, a year-on-year increase of 454%. This means that Tianqi Lithium can make a gross profit of 380,000 yuan by selling one ton of battery-grade lithium carbonate, and the gross profit margin has reached 84.26%.
The profitability of Tianqi Lithium, which extracts lithium from ore, is still not as good as that from salt lakes. Taking Salt Lake as an example, the sales volume of lithium carbonate in the first half of the year was 15,004 tons, and the corresponding operating cost was 380 million yuan. Based on this estimate, the company’s cost per ton of lithium carbonate is only 25,300 yuan, while its average selling price has reached 344,200 yuan, the gross profit per ton of lithium carbonate is nearly 320,000 yuan, and the gross profit rate is as high as 92.64%.
The gross profit margin of Tibet Mining’s “lithium products”, which is also the extraction of lithium from salt lakes, is as high as 94.47%. According to data from Oriental Fortune, in the first half of this year, the average gross profit margin of the energy metal industry, where Tianqi Lithium is located, reached 41.5%, 31 percentage points higher than that of the automobile industry. At the end of March this year, Li Xiang, CEO of Ideal Motors, publicly stated, “The cost of lithium carbonate may be 30,000 to 50,000 yuan, which should not be so expensive. This is huge profit.”
Li Guo, vice president of Tianqi Lithium, said at the mid-year report performance briefing that he dare not judge if it is too far, and the farther it is, the more inaccurate it is. However, in the next two years or one and a half years, the entire industry will still be in a state of insufficiency in terms of supply and demand.
Since mid-August, power cuts in Sichuan have superimposed the impact of the epidemic, and the contradiction between supply and demand of lithium salt has intensified. According to data from Shanghai Steel Federation, the average price of battery-grade lithium carbonate on September 2 reached 497,400 yuan / ton, approaching 500,000 yuan / ton the pass. It is foreseeable that the profit competition between OEMs, power batteries and “miners” is bound to continue for a long time. At present, in order to alleviate this contradiction, the development of the new energy vehicle industry chain from downstream to upstream and upstream to downstream has become the general trend.