China’s BYD, a world leader in electric vehicles, monorails, and batteries, is now one of the world leaders in PPE. As COVID-19 spiked worldwide demand for facemasks, BYD pivoted and started making both N95 masks and surgical masks. And with the pandemic resurging in California, the state has signed a $316 million deal with BYD to supply 420 million N95 masks and surgical masks for California.
In June, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California-based BYD North America had received certification from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to produce N95 respirators for the state.
Cal OES had made NIOSH certification of N95 masks an explicit requirement of the contract with BYD so that California’s doctors, nurses and other front-line workers can be confident that the N95 masks they receive from the state are of the highest quality and meet federal health and safety standards.
“Providing California’s front-line health care workers and responders the protective equipment they need is a critical part of our response to COVID-19. This new supply of N95 masks, as well as the surgical masks this contract has already provided, are game-changing and play a crucial role in our state’s public safety and reopening strategy,” Governor Gavin Newsom said at the time of its June combined order for 260 million N95 and surgical masks.
The state has already received hundreds of millions of masks from BYD, and the new order will be significantly cheaper than the previous order. The state will receive 120 million N95 masks for $2.13 per N95 mask and 300 million surgical masks at $0.20 per mask.
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 has grown in value almost ten-fold.
For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.
© 2020 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.