Shares in BYD, the world’s biggest EV maker, plunged almost 12% amid speculation that US billionaire investor Warren Buffett was looking to sell or adjust his stake.
The share selloff came after it emerged that a block of BYD shares circulating in Hong Kong Exchanges’ clearing system closely matched the size of the 20.49% stake held by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
A BYD spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the company is operating normally and that any reductions of major shareholders’ stakes are subject to an equity declaration with the Hong Kong exchange. Berkshire Hathaway had not responded to a request for comment.
The stock, which hit an all-time high in late June, was trading at HK$270.00 when trading closed at 4pm in Hong Kong, a drop of more than 11.9%.
BYD’s total sales over the first half of the year more than quadrupled to 633,777, making it the world’s biggest maker of EVs.
The company’s share price has shot up after its sales soared in June, which was a bumper month for the sale of electric vehicles in China, with 16 carmakers enjoying sales over more than 10,000 cars. Total sales surged 130% from the previous year to 532,000 vehicles.
BYD was the market leader, selling 132,553 electric and hybrid vehicles last month, more than double the 2021 figure.
Tesla, which was hit by a weeks-long production shutdown in April-May sold over 77, 000 vehicles in June and a total of 197,575 cars in the first half.
Chinese authorities have been using a range of incentives to revive car sales following the economic slump caused by the lockdown on Shanghai in April and May, with the Commerce Ministry vowing to extend the tax exemption for new electric vehicles.
- Jim Pollard