BYD, Chinese Automaker, Drops 15% in Profits

Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway currently own 10% of BYD, the manufacturer of batteries, phone components and vehicles in China. On Sunday, the company said that it had lost 15.5% in profits during the first half of the year due to a drop in its traditional automobile business.

The company’s net profit fell to $53.3 million, or 327 million yuan. The profit for the same quarter during the previous year was 427 million yuan. Sales did increase by 4% to 25.2 billion yuan, and this was in part due to the strength of new energy vehicles.

The company even suggested that problems with the earnings might continue to carry over until the third quarter. They predicted the January through September nine-month profit period to decline anywhere from 11.7% to 22.4% because of losses in the solar business and the slack caused by the traditional auto business.

The company has very strong roots in the battery business, but has now grown into one of the biggest nongovernment owned auto makers. According to the Forbes real-time rich list, the company chairman Wang Chuan-fu is worth $4.7 billion and ranks 335 on the list.

Back in 2008, Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway purchased nearly a 10% stake in BYD.

The company shares traded in Hong Kong have gained more than half over the last 12 months. BYD has its headquarters in the Shenzhen, which is just north of Hong Kong. They even operate an assembly facility in California.

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