China Seizes Property From Buffett-Linked Auto Firm
VOA Breaking News (Voice of America)
October 14, 2010 at 11:50 am
A Chinese auto maker partly owned by U.S. investor Warren Buffett has been fined and had its property and buildings confiscated in northern China.
China’s Land and Resources Ministry said Thursday that the BYD Company has been ordered to pay a fine equal to $442,000 and forfeit about 45 hectares of land which had been zoned for agricultural use.
The company has also lost seven dormitories, workshops and other buildings already erected on the site, where it was building a new factory with a capacity for 200,000 vehicles a year.
Buffett has a 10 percent stake in the company, which uses innovative battery technology to build non-polluting electric cars. The investor scheduled visits to several BYD sites during a recent visit to China with fellow billionaire Bill Gates.
The ministry said penalties were also levied against local officials in northern Shaanxi province who had approved the use of the land by BYD. The case reflects growing conflicts over land use in China, where demand for industrial expansion is bumping up against food production needs.
Officials with BYD, which is based in the southern city of Shenzhen, said the decision would not affect the company’s operations since production at the site was not scheduled to begin until next year.
Some information in this story was provided by AP and Bloomberg.
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