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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Warren Buffett Sold Last Shares of PetroChina Before Price Surges

Despite his reputation for "buy and hold forever," billionaire Warren Buffett said last week that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, had sold all shares of PetroChina Co. Ltd (Ticker=PTR, website), a Chinese oil conglomerate.
  • "Our Favorite holding period is forever.” -Warren Buffett
Activists had urged Buffett to sell his PetroChina shares due to the world's second largest companies ties to strife-torn Sudan via Petrochina's parent company, China National Petroleum Corp.

Click to see full size graph

Despite vocal activist shareholders in support of this divestiture, Buffett insisted in an interview on the new Fox Business Network (FBN) the decision to sell was driven by valuation.

  • "If it went down a lot I'd buy it back."

Buffett told Rupert Murdoch's FBN that the recent price gains of PetroChina's shares means he sold too soon and "left a lot of money on the table."

Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway made as much as $3.5 Billion dollars on the initial $500 million investment. As of July 2007, Berkshire Hathaway owned 11 percent of the publicly traded shares.

Berkshire bought PTR in 2003. Friday PTR closed at $232.98 after peaking at $266.81.

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