Buffett-Backed BYD Wins First Overseas Contract for Monorail

  • Company gets order from Iloilo city in the Philippines
  • Electric-car maker is pushing into city public transportation

BYD Co., which counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. as a shareholder, won its first overseas contract to build a monorail as the Chinese electric-vehicle and battery manufacturer pushes further into municipal public transportation.

The Shenzhen-based company will construct a monorail in Iloilo, the Philippines, and expects the first phase of the 20-kilometer (12-mile) system to start operations in 2019, it said in a statement Wednesday. The company didn’t provide an investment amount.

BYD -- already China’s biggest electric-car manufacturer -- has supplied battery-powered buses for cities overseas, in markets including the U.S. and Europe. Monorail will represent the next major growth area for BYD given the prospects for light-rail systems as a solution to urban gridlock in China’s smaller cities, which can’t afford to build and maintain expensive underground subways, Chairman Wang Chuanfu said in June last year.

Read here for exclusive interview with BYD Chairman on his monorail strategy.

BYD rose 0.1 percent to 48.21 yuan as of 1:25 p.m. in Shenzhen trading. Markets in Hong Kong, where BYD is also traded, are shut Wednesday because of a typhoon.

The company, which began constructing its first monorail in China in December last year, expects the number of Chinese cities building its light-rail system to reach 20 by 2018, according to the statement.

More than 100 cities worldwide have looked at the product, BYD said. China’s Shenzhen and Jilin are among those that have agreed to strategic partnerships with the company.

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