Buffett’s Dairy Queen Expands in China

Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Warren Buffett flips over a Dairy Queen Blizzard in Beijing. Close

Warren Buffett flips over a Dairy Queen Blizzard in Beijing.

Close
Open
Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Warren Buffett flips over a Dairy Queen Blizzard in Beijing.

International Dairy Queen Inc., the ice-cream maker owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), plans to expand in China and Thailand to take advantage of opportunities in developing countries.

“Our strategy for international development is emerging markets, and Asia has been a focal point,” Chief Executive Officer John Gainor, 55, said in a phone interview. Dairy Queen is customizing its menu based on the “taste profile” of consumers in each country, he said.

The Green Tea Blizzard dessert is the number-one seller in China, while the Oreo Blizzard takes the title in the U.S., Gainor said. The ice-cream maker, which has more than $3.2 billion in annual sales, opened its 500th location in China and has more than 270 in Thailand. It expanded into Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Guatemala and Singapore in 2011, the Minneapolis-based company said yesterday in a statement.

Dairy Queen, whose brands include fruit-drink maker Orange Julius and popcorn-retailer Karmelkorn, was purchased by Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire in 1998. Buffett, Berkshire’s CEO and chairman, said at the time that he and Vice Chairman Charles Munger were regulars at Dairy Queen.

“We have put our money where our mouth is,” Buffett said in a letter to shareholders.

Berkshire has historically derived a “relatively small amount” of sales and profit from international markets, the firm said last month in a regulatory filing. International growth has exposed it to increased risks from “unstable political conditions and civil unrest” in certain countries.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Ludtke in New York at aludtke@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Reichl at dreichl@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.