Samsung bets on electric cars

The Yuan is BYD’s latest plug-in hybrid mini SUV.

Samsung Electronics says it will acquire a stake in BYD through the Chinese electric vehicle and battery maker’s ongoing US$2.3 billion (A$3bn) share sale, as the South Korean technology giant bets on the automotive market to drive growth.

Neither company disclosed the size of the stake or how much it would cost Samsung. Details will be unveiled this week when BYD’s share sale via a private placement is completed, according to sources.

“This investment will strengthen our chip business for electric cars. We’ll continue to expand our partnership with BYD in various sectors,” Samsung said.

The company said it had no intention of participating in the management of BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

In a regulatory filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, BYD said the two parties would work together in the future on electric vehicle components, adding that Samsung’s plan reflected the Korean conglomerate’s confidence in BYD.

Samsung Group is already a significant player in the car industry via its affiliates. Samsung SDI makes electric vehicle batteries and Samsung Electro-Mechanics specialises in car cameras, sensors and telecommunication modules.

Shares of Samsung SDI rose as much as 8.3 per cent to a six-week high in Seoul on Friday on expectations that the company might be in line to supply its batteries to BYD.

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