Berkshire Reveals Major Stake in Phillips 66

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway has revealed that it now owns more than ten-percent of refiner Phillips 66 (PSX).

In early 2014, Berkshire swapped a large portion of its previous Phillips 66 position for the Houston-based company’s chemical business unit, which was added to Berkshire’s specialty chemical maker Lubrizol.

“We were able to do that on a tax-advantage basis. We didn’t trade them because we didn’t like the stock,” Warren Buffett said on CNBC’s Squawk Alley.

“I had always intended on coming back in, assuming that the price was right.”

A Surprise Revealed

In its SEC Form 13F filing on July 31, 2015, Berkshire stated that “confidential information has been omitted from the public Form 13F report and filed separately with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” which implied that the company was amassing shares in a company that it would reveal at a later date.

Berkshire, in its SEC Form 3 filing on August 25, stated it had accumulated 54,800,415 shares of Phillips 66 common stock. The position is worth aproximately $4.5 billion, and including shares owned prior to July 31, Berkshire owns 58 million shares.

51,873,456 of the total reported securities are owned by National Indemnity Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, and no price for those shares was reported.

However, 6,102,000 of the total reported securities are owned by the following pension plans of Berkshire’s subsidiaries: FlightSafety International Inc. Retirement Income Plan (350,000), Fruit of the Loom Pension Trust (921,300), GEICO Corporation Pension Plan Trust (2,499,700), Johns Manville Corporation Master Pension Trust (2,187,000), and General Re Corp. Employee Retirement Trust (144,000). The purchase price of those shares ranged from $71.56-$77.26.

About Phillips 66

Phillips 66 was spun-off of ConocoPhillips in May 2012, and its refining and petrochemical business has been mostly immune to the downward pressure on oil prices, as the demand for refined products, including gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel remains strong. Phillips 66 also transports crude oil, refined products, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL). It gathers, processes and markets natural gas and NGL to power businesses, heat homes and provide feedstock to the petrochemical industry.

The company’s 52-week share price high was $87.98, and it currently pays an annual dividend of 56 cents, yielding 2.9%.

Buffett, Combs or Weschler

Berkshire does not normally announce which transactions are the work of Warren Buffett, and which transactions are the work of his two portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler. While Warren Buffett has acquired most of Berkshire’s portfolio, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler each manage a portfolio that is roughly $9 billion in assets. The two investment managers are widely assumed to be the future managers of the entire portfolio.

The total portfolio slipped to a market value of $107.182 Billion at the end of second quarter from $110.776 billion at the end of the 1st quarter 2015.

(This article contains updated information from when it was first published.)

© 2015 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.