Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UPDATE: "Warren Buffett's Desire to Hike Stake In Chinese Electric Car-Maker May Not Be New (BRK.A; 1211.HK)"

A reader emails an update to yesterday's "China's BYD says Buffett wants to raise stake (BRK.A: 1211.HK)". From CNBC:
Shares of Chinese electric-car maker BYD rallied 8 percent in Hong Kong trading today (Monday), finishing at an all-time closing of HK$48.60.

The buying was apparently sparked by news wire headlines quoting BYD's chairman as saying Warren Buffett "wants" or "intends" to raise Berkshire Hathaway's 10 percent stake in the company.

Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy Holdings has already generated a paper profit of over $1 billion on its $230 million dollar investment announced last fall.

While it is dificult to precisely parse words when they're spoken (presumably) in Chinese and then reported in headlines and wire dispatches, it appears to me that BYD Chairman & CEO Wang Chuanfu may not have been saying anything new....

The "always" implies MidAmerican's interest in buying more shares is not new, and the "still considering" indicates BYD won't necessarily agree to sell Buffett a bigger stake in the company.

Fortune Magazione cover: Buffett's Electric Car
That interest to buy more on Buffett's side, and reluctance to sell on BYD's side, is consistent with Fortune's cover story earlier this year describing the negotiations that led to Berkshire's investment in BYD:

Berkshire Hathaway first tried to buy 25% of BYD, but Wang turned down the offer. He wanted to be in business with Buffett - to enhance his brand and open doors in the U.S., he says - but he would not let go of more than 10% of BYD's stock. "This was a man who didn't want to sell his company," Buffett says. "That was a good sign.">>>MORE