Thursday 17 April 2014

Buffett slashes his Tesco holding by £300m

Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet

BILLIONAIRE investor Warren Buffett has cut his stake in Tesco by £300m (€350m), handing another setback to the British grocery retailer.

Stock market filings show that Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway last week cut its holding in Tesco from 4.98pc to 3.98pc by offloading derivatives that represented 80 million of the voting rights in the company.

Berkshire Hathaway, which declined to comment on the move, has been a Tesco shareholder since 2006. Tesco remains one of Mr Buffett's biggest investments outside the US.

The trade was conducted on October 16, the day Berkshire Hathaway announced a £690m deal to buy IMI's drinks dispensing business.

Earlier this month, Tesco reported an unprecedented fall in like-for-like sales across all its 10 international businesses, including the UK, as half-year pre-tax profits fell by 24pc to £1.39bn.

Investors have privately expressed their frustration about the progress of management's UK turnaround plan.

In a note to clients on Monday after meeting Tesco management, analysts at Barclays said Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke and Laurie McIlwee, the chief financial officer, were taking a "very active approach" to putting the UK business back on track.

Irish Independent

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