MOSCOW (MRC) -- Berkshire Hathaway Inc said it had acquired more shares of Occidental Petroleum Corp, boosting its stake in the oil company to 24.4%, said Reuters.
In a regulatory filing, the conglomerate controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett said it paid about USD201 MM for 3.46 million Occidental shares between May 16 and 18. Berkshire has bought Occidental shares on each of the last six trading days, paying about USD327 MM for 5.62 million shares.
It now owns about 217.3 million Occidental shares worth about USD12.7 B. Berkshire also owns approximately USD9.5 B of Occidental preferred stock carrying an 8% annual dividend, plus warrants to buy USD5 B of Occidental common shares at USD59.62 each.
Occidental's share price closed down 67 cents at USD58.25. Berkshire acquired the preferred stock and warrants in 2019 when it helped finance Houston-based Occidental's purchase of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
It began buying common shares early last year, around when Russia invaded Ukraine and as oil prices rose. At Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting on May 6, Buffett pointed out Occidental's presence in the Permian Basin, which accounts for a significant amount of U.S. crude production and called Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub an "extraordinary manager."
He also tried to end speculation that Berkshire might buy Occidental and further diversify its own energy portfolio. "We're not going to buy control," he said. "We've got the right management running it... we wouldn't know what to do with it."
Berkshire had amassed a 22.6% stake in the BNSF railroad before paying USD26.5 B for the remainder in 2010. Buffett, 92, has run Berkshire since 1965.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company owns dozens of businesses, including Geico car insurance and many retail and manufacturing companies, as well as stocks such as Apple Inc.
We remind, Occidental said its first large-scale direct-air-capture (DAC) plant will be postponed to mid-2025, after previously targeting a late 2024 commencement. The announcement was made during its 2022 Q4 earnings call on 27 February. In October 2022, Occidental and its subsidiary signed a lease agreement in south Texas that would allow it to build enough DAC plants to extract up to 3bn tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, the US-based energy producer said.