Backed by Warren Buffett, the Chinese auto-and-battery maker BYD is striving for an increase in its overseas sales of its electric buses, while the billionaire founder Wang Chuanfu predicts a “second takeoff” for the company in 2013.
Los Angeles and Long Beach have both placed orders for electric buses provided by the Shenzhen-based BYD and this year the Chinese company will provide a total of 35 K9 electric buses for use in the public transportation network of the cities. Meanwhile it is also setting up trials in Poland and Canada and is keen on taking over Europe as well, after wining a contract in the Netherlands.
Talking to Bloomberg, Wang said “The K9 is doing well and has good prospects in overseas markets.” With an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion, the BYD owner is also very optimistic, as he completes a three-year restructuring of the company: “In the future, BYD will closely monitor overseas markets, seek partnership opportunities, and progressively introduce new-energy vehicles to related countries.” Still, in this time frame, profit was down 97%, mainly due to its photovoltaic business loses, the decline in battery demand and a fall in vehicle sales.
The future looks promising though, with shares more than doubling over the past year, Wang cutting the number of dealerships and state incentives balancing the solar losses.
BYD’s funds are in “good condition” and the company has “sufficient capacity to meet the daily liquidity, investment demand and debt repayment,” Wang said. The company has “a variety of different ways of financing to meet business needs,” he also said.
For the assembly of the electric bus K9 and its batteries, BYD stated in May this year its intentions to build two factories in Lancaster, California, as the Chinese company marks with this sale its entry into the world’s (still) largest economy.