Munger leaves rich legacy for investors

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Legendary investor Charlie Munger [Photo/CFP]

Legendary investor Charlie Munger, investment guru Warren Buffett's long-time alter ego, has died at age 99, according to a latest Berkshire Hathaway news release.

Munger died Tuesday at a California hospital, said the news release.

Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Munger's inspiration, wisdom and participation, said Buffett in the Tuesday news release.

Berkshire Hathaway has been overseen by Buffett since 1965. Munger officially joined Berkshire Hathaway as its vice-chairman in 1978. In more than four decades, Berkshire Hathaway, formerly a textile company, has grown into the world-renowned investment conglomerate.

On Nov 28, the day Munger passed on, Berkshire Hathaway had a market cap of $784.94 billion, making it the ninth-highest-valued listed company in the world, according to Forbes.

But Munger's investment philosophy is a more valuable legacy. He played an important role in Berkshire Hathaway's well-known investments such as those in the retailer Costco and See's Candies.

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is among them. In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway invested HK$1.8 billion ($230 million) in BYD. According to a recent filing by Berkshire Hathaway to the Hong Kong stock exchange, the former held nearly 8 percent of BYD by late October. Those shares are now worth HK$18.54 billion.

While expressing its sorrow on losing Munger, a mentor and friend, BYD wrote in its official social media account on Sina Weibo on Wednesday that the company was honored to be recognized by him in 2008, when Berkshire Hathaway became a significant shareholder of BYD.

"That was the first time that the company had been recognized by top international investment institutions, which helped inject strong confidence and motivation into our commitment to the new energy vehicle industry," said BYD.

"I have never helped do anything at Berkshire Hathaway that was as good as BYD and I only did it once," Munger said in February in a virtual meeting.

All the same, Berkshire Hathaway has sold more than 137 million shares of BYD since the middle of 2022, according to its previous statements.

Munger's positive outlook on China's economy, however, remained unchanged. In an interview to Acquired in late October — Munger's podcast debut — he said that "the Chinese economy has better future prospects for the next 20 years than almost any other big economy".

"The leading companies of China are stronger and better than practically any other leading companies anywhere, and they are available at a much cheaper price," he said.

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