January 23, 2010 / 3:44 AM / in 8 years

China's BYD to invest $3.3 billion in solar battery plant

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd, 10 percent owned by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, will invest 22.5 billion yuan ($3.30 billion) over five years to build China's largest solar power battery plant, a report said on Saturday.

Shenzhen-based BYD, which aims to sell 800,000 vehicles next year, will build the plant in China's Shaanxi province, a report in the South China Morning Post said, citing the Shaanxi Provincial Development and Reform Commission website.

The plant will have capacity to produce a total of 5,000 megawatts of batteries, the report said.

In December, BYD received 15 billion yuan in credit from the Bank of China.

The company is likely to use the credit to invest in new areas, such as solar energy and new energy vehicles, Frank He, an analyst with BOCI Research in Hong Kong, said at the time.

BYD's F3 sedan was the best-selling car in China in the first 11 months of 2009, leading other popular domestic and foreign models, such as Hyundai Motor's new Elantra and Chery Automobile's QQ.

BYD plans to start selling its first electric car, the e6, in the first quarter of 2010, Paul Lin, manager of the company's marketing department said in late December.

($1=6.827 Yuan)

Reporting by Joseph Chaney; Editing by David Fox

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