Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiary, National Indemnity Company, has announced an increase in its ownership stake in five prominent Japanese trading companies. The companies in question – Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and Sumitomo – hold significant positions in Japan’s economic landscape. Berkshire Hathaway’s investments in these companies are currently the only publicly traded holdings it possesses in Japan, and their combined value surpasses that of any other publicly traded stocks owned by the company outside of the United States.
Berkshire Hathaway’s ownership interest in each of the five companies now averages more than 8.5%, excluding treasury stock shares. This disclosure aligns with how Berkshire Hathaway reports its ownership in publicly traded U.S. companies. The conglomerate intends to maintain its Japanese investments for the long term. While the company might consider increasing its holdings in these companies, it has set a self-imposed limit of 9.9% ownership. Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has assured that any additional purchases beyond this threshold will only occur with the explicit approval of the investee’s board of directors.
Earlier this year, Mr. Buffett, accompanied by Gregory E. Abel, Berkshire’s Vice Chairman for Non-Insurance Operations, visited Japan to meet with the CEOs of the five companies. The discussions were fruitful, leaving both Mr. Buffett and Mr. Abel extremely pleased with the progress made. Their vision for the future may involve gradually increasing Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in each of these companies to 9.9% ownership, if prices warrant it.
Berkshire Hathaway continues to demonstrate its long-term commitment to the Japanese market and its confidence in the potential of these esteemed trading companies.
© 2023 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 a 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.