BYD denies speculation of Buffett's stake sale
Officials from BYD Co Ltd's public relations department denied speculation that US billionaire Warren Buffett would talk to the Chinese automaker about selling down his stake during his visit next week, the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao reported Sunday.
The report said the purpose of Buffet's visit is to inspect BYD's production of electric cars and solar power station.
Buffett will start his journey on Sept 27 with a visit to Beijing, then Changsha in Hunan province and finally Shenzhen in Guangdong province. BYD's assets in these three cities were all included in the visiting plan.
Reuters reported on Friday that Buffett may deliver some tough talk to BYD when he visits BYD next week, including potential plans to sell down his stake.
If it were true, BYD would find itself in an even worse situation as it had already encountered a series of problems in 2010, including sliding sales, a delay in plans to export its electric cars and a legal dispute with the government over land it wants to develop, Reuters reported.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc bought 10 percent of the company in 2008, and the stake is now worth $1.6 billion, nearly seven times the original $230 million investment. The current value is well off their peak of $2.5 billion reached last October, leading some to speculate that Buffett may cash out part or all of his investment for a return, according to the Reuters report.