Sunday 18 March 2018

Coca-Cola loses its fizz for investor Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett. Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni.
Warren Buffett. Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni.

Luciana Lopez and Jonathan Stempel

LEGENDARY investor Warren Buffett defended his recent controversial vote on executive pay at Coca-Cola and disappointing performance at railroad BNSF at his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate’s annual shareholder meeting.

The investment guru was peppered with questions at the meeting, part of a mostly festive weekend he calls Woodstock for Capitalists, after concerns that Berkshire last year missed Mr Buffett's five-year growth target for the first time in his 49 years at the helm.

Mr Buffett (83), and vice chairman Charlie Munger (90), took the stage at a downtown Omaha arena.

He was asked about Berkshire's decision to abstain from the shareholder vote on Coca-Cola's equity compensation plan for executives, even though Mr Buffett thought the plan was excessive.

Mr Buffett said that “going to war” would likely not have been productive, and that Berkshire's abstention sent an even more effective message.

Mr Buffett said he told Coke's chief executive, Muhtar Kent, he thought the plan excessive.

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