BYD Co., the Chinese carmaker part- owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., was ordered to surrender seven factories after a dispute over land use in Shaanxi province.
BYD also received a 2.95 million yuan fine ($442,378) and will have the factories confiscated, according to a statement posted today on the Ministry of Land and Resources website.
The company, part-owned by Berkshire Hathaway, unlawfully built the seven factories on 112 acres of farmland it agreed to buy in Xi’an, Shaanxi from a local economic development agency, the Land Ministry said July 15. BYD, based in Shenzhen, built the plants even though 92 percent of the land they occupied was still zoned for agriculture, the ministry said.
“This will affect their capacity expansion in the medium to long term,” said Yu Bing, an auto analyst with Pingan Securities Co. in Shanghai. “If you consider their production requirements in the next two to three years, they need to bolster their capacity now.”
Paul Lin, a spokesman for BYD, said he could not immediately comment.
The automaker’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell 1.1 percent to HK$56.25 as of 12:29 p.m. today. The benchmark Hang Seng Index was unchanged.
The government had said it would decide by Sept. 30 whether to punish the company.
Berkshire Hathaway owns 10 percent of the automaker through MidAmerican Energy Holdings, based in Des Moines, Iowa.
BYD, maker of China’s best-selling F3 compact, said in a separate statement today that auto sales fell 25 percent to 33,085 units in September.
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