By Mark Lee
Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- BYD Co., the Warren Buffett-backed maker of cars and rechargeable batteries, will exceed its target for vehicle sales of 400,000 vehicles this year, Chief Executive Officer Wang Chuanfu said.
The Shenzhen-based company plans to start selling an electric vehicle in the U.S. next year, Wang, who is also chairman, said today. The automaker started selling the F3DM, the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car, in December.
BYD’s car sales surged after it added models including the F3-R compact, and China cut taxes on smaller vehicles to boost industrywide demand. The gain offset slumping demand for mobile-phone batteries as consumers worldwide pared spending on electronics amid the global recession.
First-half net income rose 98 percent to 1.18 billion yuan ($173 million) from a year earlier, the Shenzhen-based company said yesterday. Revenue increased 30 percent to 16.1 billion yuan.
BYD, China’s seventh-biggest carmaker, boosted first-half vehicle sales to 176,814 autos, outpacing a 26 percent gain in nationwide passenger-car sales. Revenue from the auto business more than doubled to 8.88 billion yuan, the statement said.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., completed the acquisition of a HK$1.8 billion stake in BYD last month. The company has made more than $1 billion from the investment, according to Bloomberg calculations.
BYD rose 2.4 percent to HK$46.10 as of 11:53 a.m. in Hong Kong trading. The stock has more than tripled this year, compared with a 37 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index. MidAmerican bought 225 million new shares for HK$8 apiece.
The tie-up with Buffett may help boost BYD’s profile overseas and also reassure potential customers, Wang said last year.
The company also plans to sell shares on the mainland next year, he said today.
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