Tesla’s Chinese battery supplier boosts profit as pandemic eases


Electric-car battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. returned to sales and profit growth after the effects of the coronavirus pandemic eased in China and demand rose for customers including Tesla Inc.

Third-quarter net profit rose 4.2% to 1.42 billion yuan ($212 million) in the three months through September, the Fujian, China-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Sales increased 0.8% to 12.7 billion yuan.

Jason Chen, General Mager Operations Europe of Chinese company CATL, gestures during the opening of one of the largest battery research institutes in Germany, the 'Battery Innovation and Technology Center' (BITC) in Arnstadt, Germany, Friday, July 10, 2020.

Key Insights

  • Electric-car makers are ramping up output as the industry shifts to more environmentally friendly vehicles and shoppers return to showrooms. In the first half of the year, CATL’s revenue had decreased about 7% as the pandemic shuttered dealerships and production sites.
  • CATL is benefiting from cost competition, with carmakers racing to reduce the expense of manufacturing electric vehicles. CATL’s cheaper batteries enabled Tesla to cut the price of its China-built Model 3 sedans, people familiar with the matter said. Tesla has sold about 11,000 locally made vehicles a month recently and is competing for the top spot in China’s EV market.
  • CATL has also struck partnerships with manufacturers including Daimler AG and NIO Inc., seeking an edge over rival battery makers such as LG Chem Ltd. and Samsung SDI Co.
  • Wholesales of new-energy vehicles, consisting of pure-electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell autos, surged 68% last month to 138,000 units in China, a record for September, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.