BYD, the Chinese car and battery maker which is 10% owned by billionaire US investor Warren Buffett, has reported a 94% drop in earnings for the first half of the year.

It blames much of the fall on undisclosed losses in its solar panel business; it was also hit by weaker demand for its cars both at home and abroad.

"The stagnant solar market around the globe, as well as the significant decrease in prices of solar products have affected the operating results in the first half of the year," the company said in a statement.

Net income fell from CNY16.3m (USD2.6m) in the six months to June compared to CNY275.4m in the same period a year earlier.

The company had warned earlier this year that it expected profits to fall by between 75% and 95%.

Sales of cars – conventional and electric – fell by 9.27% in the first half of the year to 199,700.