Posted by: garispang | July 30, 2009

Warren Buffett’s Stake in Chinese Electric Car Company Generates $1 Billion Paper Profit

Warren Buffett’s bet on a Chinese electric car company is generating sparks.

Bloomberg notes that Berkshire Hathaway’s stake of almost 10 percent in BYD has soared in value by about $1 billion since it was first announced last fall. 

The purchase was completed today at the September price after the China Securities Regulatory Commission gave its approval for the deal.

When Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings agreed last fall to make its $230 million investment in BYD, the Chinese company was trading just over HK$8 in the Hong Kong market.

Fortune Magazione cover: Buffett's Electric Car

Now BYD’s stock is over HK$42, an increase of about 400 percent.  That means Berkshire’s original $230 million investment is now worth about $1.2 billion on paper.

Buffett’s willingness to back the company has helped boost the stock price, of course.  BYD soared 42 percent in the day after it was announced, but at that point it was still below its high of HK$20 from the previous year.

BYD’s all-electric e6 automobile made its Detroit debut last January at that city’s auto show, and then got major attention in April when a Fortune magazine cover story highlighted Buffett’s investment in the “car of the future.”

That story also notes that Buffett doesn’t get all the credit for this particular billion-dollar profit.  The investment was first suggested by his partner, Charlie Munger.



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