Buffett Says Berskhire Has Invested in Phillips 66

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., arrives for the morning session at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Phillips 66, the largest U.S. independent refiner by market value, rose the most in two months after Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett announced an investment in the new company.

Phillips 66, based in Houston, climbed 5.9 percent to $34.94 at the close in New York. The stock, which began trading on May 1, had its biggest gain since May 9.

ConocoPhillips, also based in Houston, spun off refining, pipeline and chemical assets this year to create Phillips 66. Shareholders got one share of the new company for each two ConocoPhillips shares they held as of April 16.

Berkshire reduced its holding in ConocoPhillips and bought into “some of the refining operation,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Buffett said in an interview today on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop With Betty Liu” from the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. One of Buffett’s deputy stock pickers, Ted Weschler or Todd Combs, made the investment, the billionaire said.

Phillips 66 has touted future growth from pipelines and chemicals as it seeks to reduce refining holdings. The company topped Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. as the most valuable U.S. refiner without oil wells when it debuted.

ConocoPhillips, now the largest U.S. oil and natural-gas producer by market value that doesn’t own refineries or chemical units, announced the spinoff in 2011 to focus on finding and producing petroleum amid rising crude prices. ConocoPhillips rose 1 percent to $54.98.

Cutting Conoco

Buffett, 81, apologized to Berkshire shareholders in February 2009 for his bet on ConocoPhillips the prior year, before gas prices plummeted. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire took about $3 billion in impairments on the investment in 2009.

The billionaire’s firm cut its stake in ConocoPhillips to 29.1 million shares on March 31 from 84 million shares at the end of the third quarter of 2008, with most of the reduction in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The energy company returned 3.8 percent during that period, excluding dividends.

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