* BYD expects to sell electric car in US in 2010
* BYD keen on mainland A-share listing, maybe in the next
* Multinational automakers in talks to buy BYD batteries
* Shares close up 8 pct in weak HK market
(Adds details and analyst comments)
By Joanne Chiu
HONG KONG, Aug 31 U.S. billionaire Warren
Buffett intends to raise his stake in Chinese electric car and
battery maker BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK), BYD's chairman said on
Monday, sending shares in his company up 8 percent.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a unit of Buffett's Berkshire
Hathaway (BRKa.N), bought 10 percent of BYD for $230 million or
about HK$8 a share last September, sparking a massive rally in
the stock. [ID:nN26317503]
"MidAmerican has always intended to raise its stake in BYD
because it believes BYD has good prospects in the development
of renewable energy, but we are still considering (whether to
sell more)," BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu told reporters on
BYD, Hong Kong's largest listed auto stock, also said it
expects to sell its e6 electric car in the United States in
2010, a year ahead of schedule.
"BYD shares are not cheap at the current price level, but
since the company's strategy is in line with Beijing's policy,
and with the support of Buffett, the market is willing to pay a
premium for that," said Ben Kwong, the chief operating officer
of KGI Asia.
China's government has been encouraging local automakers to
focus on more fuel efficient models and environmentally
BYD shares rose 8 percent to close at HK$48.6 on Monday,
more than six times what MidAmerican paid and valuing the
company at about $13 billion. The benchmark Hang Seng index
.HSI fell 1.9 percent.
BYD has ambitious plans for its hybrid and rechargeable
electric vehicles, aiming to sell as many as 9 million units by
2025 to take on heavyweights like General Motors [GM.UL] and
Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T).
It launched a gasoline-electric hybrid electric car, F3DM,
in China last year and expects to sell its all-electric car e6
to the United States in 2010, a year earlier than its original
2011 target. BYD says the e6 is capable of driving 400
kilometres (249 miles) on a single charge.
"e6 will be launched in the United States by the end of
2010 and they are now being tested under U.S. regulations,"
The electric cars will be sold in Shenzhen first in the
fourth quarter of 2009 and will gradually expand to other
cities in China, he added.
BYD has sold about 100 F3DM cars to governments and
corporates and plans to sell to individual customers starting
It sold a total of 180,000 vehicles in the first half of
the year, up 1.5 times from a year ago, which helped nearly
double its net profit to 1.18 billion yuan ($173 million) for
BYD said it now hopes to exceed its 2009 sales target of
For result statement, please click
BYD is keen on a stock market listing in mainland China and
may look to do so in the next year, Wang said.
The company has previously said it planned to issue up to
100 million A shares on the Shenzhen stock exchange to raise
capital for development projects [ID:nHKG366024].
The issue could be worth HK$4.6 billion ($594 million)
based on its share price on Monday.
BYD, which began life as a maker of rechargeable batteries
in Shenzhen in 1995, is in talks to sell its batteries to
multinational car makers including Volkswagen (VOWG.DE).
"Batteries are our core products and we are willing to
supply them to companies in the same industry," Wang said.
(Writing by Alison Leung; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and