Shares in Chinese Automaker Surge in Stock Exchange Debut

Posted June 30th, 2011 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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Shares in innovative Chinese automaker BYD rose 44 percent Thursday in the company’s debut on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

BYD, maker of the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car, raised $220 million in a share offering aimed at financing a research and development center. It ended the morning trading session at $4 a share.

The Shenzhen-based company started out making lithium-ion and nickel batteries before expanding into automaking. An investment firm controlled by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet purchased a 9.9 percent share in 2008 in anticipation of demand for clean energy vehicles.

But BYD earned just $41 million in the first quarter of 2011, an 84-percent drop from the $263 million it made during the same period last year.

Auto sales in China slowed this year after the government phased out incentive programs implemented during the global economic slowdown.