Buffet Backed BYD Co Ltd Down 40% For No Apparent Reason

Chinese electric bus maker BYD Co Ltd. stock plunged more than 40% this week, and analysts are puzzled about why that happened. Several firms have issued reports on the company weighing in on the plummeting share price and sharing details on their conversations with BYD management.

Shares of BYD did partially recover today, however.

No changes with BYD’s fundamentals

In their report dated Dec. 18, 2014, JPMorgan analysts stated that BYD management claims there have been no negative changes in the company’s fundamentals. In addition to the sudden plunge in share price, trading volumes were extremely high at 50 times the 30-day average. BYD management did suggest that shares were pulled lower due to “some margins calls,” however, according to the JPMorgan team.

Chinese government cutting electric bus orders?

There were reports that BYD is seeing cuts in orders for its electric buses, although BYD claimed that isn’t true. JPMorgan analysts checked with Yutong Buses, which confirmed BYD’s expectations that the Chinese government will continue its subsidy policy on electric busses until next year and perhaps even after 2016.

In their report also dated Dec. 18, 2014, Barclays analysts also expressed concern about cuts in electric bus orders. However, they said BYD management claimed vehicle production and battery production are “normal.”


In their report dated Dec. 18, 2014, UBS analysts said BYD’s strong sales appear to be driven by sales of the Qin hybrid sedan, but they think the company’s overall operations are weak. They believe government subsidies are mainly supporting these sales. They don’t think the increase in new energy PV solar sales will offset declining sales in traditional PV sales, so they see continued headwinds for BYD’s near-term earnings and have reiterated their Sell rating on the company.

BYD – What about Russia?

Barclays analysts also noted that BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) has very little exposure to Russia, as the company stated its revenue from Russia was $.7 million so far this year. That’s less than 1% of BYD’s total revenue so far year to date. The worry had been that the weakening Russian ruble would negatively impact the Chinese company.

Analysts from other firms echoed these comments.


Warren Buffet cutting stake in BYD?

BYD has received a lot of press for being one of Warren Buffet’s holding through his firm’s MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. When asked if Buffett’s firm was considering cutting its stake in BYD, as reported by the China Security Journal, the electric bus maker had no comment, according to JPMorgan analysts.

However, Barclays analysts said management thinks MidAmerican is unlikely to be selling off its stake. They also reportedly said they’ve been communicating with Buffett’s firm recently.

Other concerns for BYD

Barclays analysts also highlighted some other potential worries that  might have weighed on BYD shares. They report that there haven’t been any more recent accidents in the city of Shenzhen. Also speculations about problems with BYD management were refuted, as the company’s chairman was said to be “in the office and working as usual.” Barclays analysts remain Underweight-rated on shares, saying they don’t expect a “sharp recovery” in BYD shares. They also said even after this week’s correction in the share price, the stock remains expensive relative to peers.

About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.