Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Limited has reported net income for the half year ended June 30 down 20.8% to RMB351.0 million ($US42.4 million) from RMB443.4 million ($53.5 million) in H1 2003.

This was due to lower gross profit margins due to a decrease in average selling prices resulting from a change in product mix of the minibuses and lower sales of Zhonghua sedans, the company said in a statement.

Consolidated sales by the company and its operating subsidiaries (Shenyang Brilliance JinBei Automobile, Shenyang XingYuanDong Automotive Component, Ningbo Yuming Machinery Industrial Company, Ningbo Brilliance Ruixing Auto Components, Mianyang Brilliance Ruian Automotive Components, Shenyang Brilliance Dongxing Automotive Component, Shenyang ChenFa Automobile Component and Shenyang Jindong Development) in the first six months of 2004 were RMB3,857.5 million ($US465.9 million), a 23.7% decrease from RMB5,053.5 million ($610.3 million) for the same period in 2003.

Shenyang Automotive sold 31,416 minibuses in the first half of 2004, a 12.5% decrease from the 35,924 minibuses sold during the same period in 2003.

Shenyang Automotive sold 8,400 Zhonghua sedans in the first half of 2004, down 45.8% from the 15,498 sedans sold in 2003.

Earnings per share were $1.16 for the first half, 20.5% down on the $1.46 earned in the first half of 2003.

Net equity in earnings of associated companies and jointly controlled entities increased 25.3% from RMB107.9 million ($13.0 million) in the first half of 2003 to RMB135.2 million (US$16.3 million) in H1 2004. The increase was mainly due to the contribution of profit from BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd., the group's 49%-indirectly owned jointly controlled operation, in the first half.

BMW Brilliance Automotive assembles 3-and 5-series sedans from semi-knockdown kits and sold 4,983 in H1 2004.

Chairman Wu Xiao An said: "The competition in the automotive sector is expected to intensify in the second half of 2004 due to the recent decrease in the rate of growth of demand for automobiles in China.

"The group will continue to take proactive marketing and operational measures with the aim of ensuring future profitability and positive returns for our shareholders."

A dividend of HK$HK 0.005 per share will be paid.