Warren Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway sold another $58.9 million worth of shares of Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD this month, a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange showed on Monday.
Berkshire sold 1.96 million Hong Kong-listed BYD shares for HK$462.09 million on May 2, the filing showed.
The sale lowered Berkshire’s holdings in BYD’s issued H-shares to 9.87% from 10.05%.
This is the second time in just over a month that Buffett’s investment group has reduced its stake in China’s largest EV-maker.
The group has made of series of similar sales since late August last year, when it owned 20.49% of BYD’s H shares, slashing its stake by more than half.
Berkshire initially invested $232 million in BYD in 2008, which ballooned up to $7 billion in value in 2022. The group’s BYD holdings are now worth around $3.8 billion.
The share sales also come on the heels of spiking tensions and a tech war between China and the United States.
Rivalry between the world’s two biggest economies has also been a source of immense concern among investors like Buffett. At Berkshire’s annual meeting over the weekend, Buffett confessed he was avoiding deploying capital in Taiwan due to growing China-US tensions.
Praise for BYD factories
Just four days after the sale, Berkshire vice-president Charlie Munger also praised automation at BYD’s Chinese factories.
“If you went into BYD’s factories in China you would see robotics going in at an unbelievable rate,” Chinese state media Global Times quoted Munger as saying at the shareholder meet.
In February this year, Munger said it was “almost ridiculous” how far ahead BYD was compared to Tesla in China.
“I have never helped do anything at Berkshire that was as good as BYD,” CNBC quoted him as saying at an annual meet of his tech company Daily Journal.
Stiff remarks on US-China
Meanwhile, Buffett and Munger both said tension between the two countries was causing unnecessary harm to their economies.
Buffett said competition between the two was natural but the US needed to “judge how far to push without the other side reacting.”
Munger, on the other hand, was more firm with his remarks, calling the conflict “stupid, stupid, stupid.”
“I think we’re equally guilty of being stupid,” Munger said, referring to the US and China.
“If there’s one thing we should do it’s get along with China and we should have a lot of free trade with China, in our mutual interest,” he said.
- Vishakha Saxena, with Reuters