On April 20th, CATL released an impressive first-quarter financial report. The report revealed that the company achieved an operating income of 89.038 billion yuan ($12.96 billion) in the first quarter of this year, which is an increase of 82.91% compared to last year’s figures. Additionally, its net profit was 9.822 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 557.97%, while the gross profit margin was 21.2%, up nearly seven percentage points from the same period last year.
CATL has consistently exceeded a net profit of 9 billion yuan in the past three quarters. Notably, its net profit reached an all-time high of 13.14 billion yuan in Q4 last year. Its investment income for Q1 this year exceeded 1.5 billion yuan due to equity interest disposals in affiliated companies, which is a significant factor contributing to its growth in net profit.
CATL’s business comprises four main sectors: power batteries, energy storage batteries, battery materials and recycling, and mineral resources. The power battery sector generated 72% of the company’s sales revenue last year, while the energy storage battery sector accounted for almost 14%.
During the first quarter of this year, there has been a significant decrease in prices for major raw materials used in power batteries. This is particularly true for battery-grade lithium carbonate. According to data from SMM, on April 20th, the average price of battery-grade lithium carbonate fell to 17.85 yuan/ton, which represents a 70% decline over the past five months. The continuous drop in raw material costs can help reduce procurement expenses for companies that manufacture batteries.
During the first quarter of 2023, the company’s research and development expenses increased significantly by 81%, reaching 4.652 billion yuan compared to last year’s same-period expense of 2.568 billion yuan. At Auto Shanghai 2023, it showcased the condensed battery with an impressive energy density of up to 500Wh/kg – almost twice as high as its current ternary lithium batteries. This breakthrough is expected to be mass-produced this year and will initially be used in manned aviation.