Buffett ups stake in Tesco after profit warning
LONDON, Jan 19 – Billionaire US investor Warren Buffett has lifted his stake in Britain’s Tesco in a move likely to be seen as a vote of confidence in Chief Executive Phil Clarke after a profit warning from the world’s No.3 retailer last week.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc had increased its stake in the British supermarket group from 3.21 per cent to 5.08 per cent as of Jan. 13, a regulatory filing showed today.
That’s a day after Tesco warned trading profit for its 2012-13 financial year would be flat as it steps up investment in its home market following its worst underlying Christmas sales performance for decades.
Dubbed the “Sage of Omaha” for a string of investments that have propelled him to number three on Forbes’ 2011 list of the world’s wealthiest men, Buffett’s share dealings are closely watched in financial markets.
After buying into Tesco in 2006, Buffett has gradually increased his holding.
Last year he caused a stir by saying Tesco should “look hard” at its loss-making Fresh & Easy chain in the United States, though he also said he remained supportive of the business.
Tesco shares dropped as much as 19 per cent on Jan. 12 and hit a 34-month low of 311 pence on Monday.
At 1255 GMT, the stock was up 0.5 per cent at 322.5 pence.
Tesco has come under fire from some investors after news emerged that UK chief operating officer Noel Robbins sold around £200,000 (RM954,800) worth of shares eight days before its profit warning. – Reuters