Category Archives: Stock Portfolio

Buffett Says Wells Fargo “Incentivized the Wrong Type of Behavior”

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Warren Buffett continued to take aim at Wells Fargo during his answers to shareholders’ questions at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting.

He noted that Wells Fargo “incentivized the wrong type of behavior,” and felt that its CEO John Stumpf, was slow in responding to the scandal.

Berkshire Hathaway is Wells Fargo’s largest shareholder at just under ten percent of the company.

The stock has been one of Berkshire’s long term core holdings, and so far it has shown no sign of selling its position.

Still, Buffett emphasized that he was not pleased with the actions Stumpf took.

“If there’s a major problem, the CEO will get wind of it. At that moment, that’s the key to everything. The CEO has to act,” Buffett said. “The main problem was they didn’t act when they learned about it.”

Some 5,300 employees were eventually fired for creating over 2 million phony accounts tied to existing customers in order to meet sales goals, and Stumpf ended up resigning.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Buffett said, noting the old adage. “A pound of cure is worth a ton of cure delayed,” he added.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Commentary: Berkshire Made the Right Bet on BYD

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While investors cross their fingers and hope that Tesla’s anticipated Model 3 profits will come in time to bail out the company’s cash burn rate, another electric car and battery maker, China’s BYD, is celebrating its record profits in 2016.

Wondering which company Berkshire Hathaway invested in? If you said BYD, you are right.

The good news for Berkshire, which owns just under ten percent of BYD, is that BYD achieved a record five billion RMB profit in 2016, as the company continues to debut its pure electric buses and cars in markets around the world.

BYD recently unveiled the ‘Dynasty’ prototype vehicle created by its new Design Director Wolfgang Egger.

BYD is preparing to make an even greater push internationally by investing in world class technology and expertise that advances its vision of creating an eco-system of quality new energy products. The five billion RMB SkyRail monorail that was launched last October, the appointment of actor Leonardo DiCaprio as brand ambassador in China for new energy vehicles, along with the recent hiring of two European automobile heavyweights underscores the company’s strategic global expansion.

“Joining BYD provides an opportunity to help a young brand develop its design DNA as it looks to expand its global footprint,” said BYD Design Director Wolfgang Egger. “This concept vehicle will take BYD’s consumer vehicles in an exciting new direction, with design cues like its dragon-inspired exterior drawing inspiration from China’s rich cultural heritage.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD’s Electric EcoTaxis Hit the Streets in Ecuador

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Thirty BYD pure electric e5 taxis are now in service in Loja, Ecuador. The project was initiated by the local community and backed by the Ecuadorian government with a tax free incentive.

“The strong support from the government and the development bank Corporación Financiera Nacional shows united effort to create a sustainable living environment,” said Jorge Burbano, Business Manager of BYD E-Motors Ecuador. “We are impressed by their conviction and perseverance to make EcoTaxis a reality.”

Introducing electric taxis into Loja’s public transport system is just one of many steps Ecuador is taking to mitigate climate change. It – along with every Latin American country – is one of the signatories to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. At 43.6 percent renewable energy also plays a growing role in Ecuador’s energy mix.

The Mayor of Loja, Bolivar Castillo, expressed his gratitude to the locals who first approached City Hall with a business case for the EcoTaxi. “This demonstrates that the people of Loja are not afraid to try new things. Cities like ours will pave the way for others to follow.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Opens R$150 Million Solar Panel Factory in Brazil

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China’s BYD Company, the Shenzhen-based new energy technology company, has launched a solar panel factory in the southeastern Brazilian city of Campinas, the country’s first zero ecosystem project. With an initial investment of R$150 million, the plant will have a production capacity of 200 megawatts and generate 360 jobs.

BYD Brazil’s solar panels contain the exclusive state-of-the-art technology Double Glass. Double Glass increases energy production by 7 percent compared to previous modules extends durability to 50 years and offers a lower product degeneration rate of 0.3 percent. This is a significant reduction from the 0.7 percent experienced by solar panels with EVA.

“BYD is a global high tech company. As such our goal is to bring the world’s best technology to Brazil, creating new jobs and generating innovation in the country. With local production we will help consolidate the distribution and generation markets,” says Tyler Li, General Manager of BYD Brazil and President of BYD Energy do Brasil.

Additionally BYD Brazil also announced that they will be nationalizing their electric bus chassis production line. Located in the same complex as the photovoltaic solar modules, the installed capacity for the electric bus unit is 720 chassis per year.

BYD was the first factory to produce and sell 100% electric bus in Brazil. Its investment in Brazil extends to a wide variety of products including the world’s first electric garbage collector truck. Its electric cars are also used in corporate fleets, taxis, and the logistics industry. The company is aiming to invest in engineering localization and infrastructure construction in the near future. “The proportion of local technology used in the production will gradually increase over the years,” said local development manager Marcos Caderllini. “We aim to broaden this proportion from 20 to 70 percent by 2022,” he said.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Cuts Ribbon on New Hungarian Electric Bus Plant

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China’s BYD Company, the Shenzhen-based new energy technology company, has opened its newest electric bus assembly plant in the Hungarian town of Komarom. The plant will officially be known as the BYD Electric Bus and Truck Hungary Kft.

The new plant sees an investment by BYD that will total some €20 million (or about HUF 6.2 billion) in the three years to 2018.

Currently, there are 32 employees of whom 68% are factory workers. Eventually it will employ some 300 people, the vast majority being locally recruited Hungarians with a technical background, who will assemble up to 400 electric buses a year on two shifts. Those buses will be exported to customers across continental Europe.

Initial output will be electric buses and coaches but other products will soon follow, including electric forklift trucks and then light commercial vehicles.

The plant consists of five buildings: a main office, a battery test and maintenance center, an inspection line and water leak test booth, a bus and truck assembly hall and a paint shop.

It is planned that the Hungary plant will produce the bus chassis for the UK (for assembly into complete vehicles under the BYD ADL partnership) and the newly announced BYD factory in France. There are plans to deliver up to 40 vehicles by the end of this year.

For BYD the more than 66,000 square meter complex is just the first of a series of European production facilities it is planning. The event today follows an announcement just two weeks ago of the acquisition of an 80,000 square meter site for bus making in Beauvais, to the north of Paris.

According to Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe, BYD is completely confident that it will need this extra bus making capacity. “The answer is simple – air quality – or, perhaps I should say, bad air quality, something which impacts the citizens of every major city worldwide. Not a week goes past without another report linking the serious detrimental health consequences of breathing polluted air and most of that pollution comes from road vehicles, largely diesel powered.

“City buses are not only a prime contributor to this but also, since they have totally predictable route patterns, are one of the easiest classes of vehicles to be electrified. Learning from the streets of major Chinese cities where poor air quality is not new, we are targeting our world leading battery technology on the city bus sector, although our ambitions stretch way beyond this humble type of vehicle.

“It is no coincidence therefore that BYD electric buses already make up the largest fleet of zero emission buses at a major international airport – Amsterdam’s Schiphol – and the largest fleet of electric city buses – in service on the streets of London”, Mr Ho said.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD to Build Electric Bus Assembly Plant in France

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BYD Company is continuing to build out its global electric bus manufacturing capability. The Chinese battery and vehicle maker has announced it will invest €10 million in a new assembly plant in the town of Allonne, near Beauvais, in Hauts-de-France.

The project will create roughly 100 jobs in its initial phase. The production facility will occupy 32,000 sq m of a parcel totaling nearly 80,000 sq m, and will assemble up to 200 vehicles a year—single-deck buses and coaches—in its first phase.

Other vehicles may be added as BYD expands its product line.

Production is scheduled to get underway in the first half of 2018. In addition to bus assembly, BYD plans an after-sales unit for maintenance and repairs, as well as a logistics center for spare parts. In the longer term, a test center for batteries could be added.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Unveils Largest E-taxi Fleet in South East Asia

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China’s BYD Company has introduced 100 electric taxis in Singapore, forming the biggest e-taxi fleet in South East Asia. The commercial introduction of the pure electric e6 cars also represents the largest investment of its kind by a Chinese electric car manufacturer.

This latest injection of electric taxis into Singapore’s transport network was launched amidst much fanfare from 300 attendees including the Secretary General of the National Trade Union Congress Chan Chun Sing, diplomats and various BYD representatives.

The expansion comes two years after BYD’s fleet of 30 e-taxis first hit the country’s roads in 2014, operated by HDT Holdings, the only e-taxi operator in Singapore, in partnership with the ride hailing company Grab. With the highly recognized customized service of the 30 e-taxi fleet, HDT Holdings got a special permission from the local government to run another 100 e-taxis and called up a tender for the fleet. BYD won this tender to provide the 100 e-taxis to HDT based on its global experience in the industry and the previous successful cooperation with them. “BYD’s electric cars have become our calling card,” said HDT Holdings General Manager James Ng.

Singapore has gradually adopted environmentally friendly policies over the years. The introduction of the 100 e6 taxis is estimated to save the island state around 46,400 tons of carbon emissions a year roughly equivalent to saving 26,000 trees.

“This is only the beginning, as there will be more BYD products and services for Singaporeans in the future,” said Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD Asia Pacific Auto Sales Division. “BYD will continue to support Singapore in its noble ambition for sustainable transportation.”

The BYD e6, an all-electric compact crossover/compact MPV, has zero emissions and offers a range of 400 kilometers. There are e6 taxi fleets in China, Colombia, Belgium, Netherlands, U.K., and the U.S.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Commentary: Warren Buffett Keeps Getting Valentines from Phillips 66

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“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” wrote poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The same could be said by Warren Buffet when it comes to an energy sector company that is clearly dear to his heart.

If there is one company in the oil and gas sector that Warren Buffett especially loves, it is Houston-based Phillips 66, an energy manufacturing and logistics company with a portfolio of integrated businesses: Midstream, Chemicals, Refining, and Marketing and Specialties.

Back in early 2014, Berkshire swapped a large portion of its previous Phillips 66 position for the company’s chemical business unit, which was added to Berkshire’s specialty chemical maker Lubrizol.

“We were able to do that on a tax-advantage basis. We didn’t trade them because we didn’t like the stock,” Warren Buffett said at the time on CNBC’s Squawk Alley.

“I had always intended on coming back in, assuming that the price was right.”

By mid-2015, Buffett was back in and Berkshire revealed that it had accumulated 58 million shares of stock.

That position Has Only Grown

Buffett’s love of Phillips 66 has continued unabated, as he added to the position throughout 2016.

As of its last filing, Berkshire Hathaway now owns $6.4 billion of Phillips 66 stock, which works out to around 15.67% of the company. Berkshire is the largest institutional owner.

Why does Buffett love Phillips 66?

First of all, the company’s diversified businesses make it a leader in refining (it owns 13 refineries), marketing (it sells fuel In the U.S. under the Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 brands), and Midstream operations. Its Midstream operations gathers, processes, transports and markets natural gas, and transports, fractionates and markets natural gas liquids in the United States. Phillips 66 also manufactures and markets petrochemicals and plastics worldwide.

Phillips 66’s diversified businesses has given it relative stability in the face of recent slumps on crude oil prices, and the stock remained strong between 2014 and 2017.

With a current dividend yield of 3.22%, the stock has been pouring cash into Berkshire, much of it through positions held by its insurance company National Indemnity.

Rising Dividends

Buffett’s love of Phillips 66 is likely to continue. Back in 2015, the company’s dividend yielded between 1.9% and 2.7%. With most of the quarters paying dividends of 56 cents a share. Since May 2016, the dividends have moved up and it has paid 63 cents a quarter for the past four quarters.

A strong stock price and a fat dividend. What’s Warren Buffett not to love?

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Launches Expanded Line-Up B-Box Battery Energy Storage Systems in Australia

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China’s BYD Company, the world’s largest supplier of rechargeable batteries, has launched its newly expanded line-up of B-Box Battery Energy Storage Systems in Australia, one of the world’s fastest growing residential energy storage markets.

The B-Box aims squarely at the same market as Tesla’s Powerwall.

BYD’s easy-to-install modular battery cabinets are available in a HV (high-voltage) model for both commercial and residential use, as well as in a LV (low-voltage) model for residential use. At the same time, BYD announces 4 authorized distributors for the B-Box sales in Australia, Sol Distribution Pty Ltd., RF Industries Pty Ltd., 360 Energy Pty Ltd and Solar Australia Pty Ltd.

The latest BYD storage systems are IP55 certified, meaning the storage systems are protected against the elements and hostile environments. They are based on the company’s proprietary Lithium Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4) storage chemistry, which has an outstanding safety record and makes it the ideal technology for countries like Australia.

The B-Box HV Series employs a modular design with battery capacities ranging from 5.6 to 10.08 kWh, providing more than enough energy for the average household and can be scaled up to 50kWh for commercial and industrial applications. The B-Box LV Residential Series is available in four capacities ranging from 2.5 to 10.0 kWh and can be scaled up to 80kWh.

Together with the B-Box LV Professional Series currently on sale, BYD now has a complete energy storage product line-up in Australia.

BYD has chosen Australia to launch its expanded B-Box battery storage systems because the country is currently one of the most attractive markets for solar PV and storage deployment. A combination of the expiry of various state-based feed-in tariff schemes, high and rising electricity tariffs and plentiful sunshine make battery storage coupled with rooftop solar extremely attractive to households and businesses.

According to a 2016 report published by IHS, Energy Storage Intelligence Service, behind-the-meter storage installations are expected to double each year through 2018, with more than 30,000 Australian homes having solar and energy storage systems by 2018.

The BYD B-Box can help households and businesses to slash their electricity bills by storing the output of their rooftop solar panel systems for use in the evening, when household electric appliance demand tends to rise. The B-Box can minimize the amount of solar energy that is fed back to the grid, as well as the impact of costly electricity tariffs.

“The B-Box series offers a wide range of renewable power capabilities to meet light to heavy electrical load usage, off-grid or on-grid, single-phase or three-phase applications.” said Julia Chen, Global sales director, BYD Batteries. “Ideally, the B-Box can be integrated to a fully sustainable energy-independent enterprise or lifestyle, enabling its users to reduce reliance on electricity from fossil fuels, especially when combined with BYD’s solar power systems, thus drastically cutting energy costs.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Gets Major EV Bus Order from Australian Company

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China’s BYD Company has secured an order for 40 pure electric buses from Australian airport ground transportation provider Carbridge.

The contract was signed at the end of January in the presence of senior executives from BYD and Carbridge, three months after the first BYD Electric Blu bus made its commercial debut at Sydney Airport.

“We are the first Chinese company to crack Australia’s electric bus market, having come a long way since the trial of our electric buses at the country’s busiest airport in Sydney in late 2014,” said Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD’s Asia Pacific Auto Sales Division. “This additional order from a large transport provider like Carbridge is testimony to our quality service and state of the art technology – and was a very nice present just before the Lunar New Year.”

The Electric Blu bus has a carrying capacity of 70 passengers; features purpose-designed luggage storage racks and has a range of 400km on a single charge. The fleet of six currently in operation at Sydney Airport is also estimated to lower carbon emissions by 160 tons a year, reduce waste fluids and noise levels.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.