Planar Energy, a Florida based company is planning to complete a pilot production line that will print lithium-ion batteries onto sheets of metal or plastic in a process similar to a producing newsprint. Read this article for more details.
Several media reports have appeared today suggesting that Warren Buffett’s visit to China next week may be due to concerns regarding Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in BYD. Most of the reports cite a Reuters article which seems quite unconvincing. While BYD
BYD has encountered a few rough patches lately with cuts to its sales target for 2010 and second quarter profits that were significantly below consensus estimates. These developments have resulted in a sharp drop in BYD’s share price with the ADRs falling close to 52 week lows. Adding to the negative news, Bloomberg reports that China’s Ministry of Land and Resources has accused BYD of illegally building seven factories on 112 acres of farmland that was zoned for agricultural use. The government will make a decision regarding the punishment for the company prior to the end of September. Read this article for more details.
BYD has announced a 25 percent reduction for its 2010 sales target due to capacity constraints. The company now expects to sell 600,000 vehicles. However, this figure would still represent rapid growth as evidenced by the company’s 63.5 percent growth in domestic Chinese vehicle sales in the first six months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. BYD’s growth in China this year would represent a significant increase in market share. Read this article for more information.
Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in BYD made its first appearance in Warren Buffett’s annual letter which provides a table listing common stock investments with a market value of more than $1 billion. As of December 31, 2009, Berkshire held 225 million shares of BYD with a market value of nearly $2 billion. Berkshire’s cost basis is $232 million. While the investment has appreciated significantly, it is unusual for Warren Buffett to purchase shares of what is essentially a technology company in a very unsettled industry environment. Read this article for more details.