Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Cuts Munich Re Holding to 4.6%

  • Berkshire has been reducing Munich Re investment this year
  • Buffett has said reinsurance business `not as good as it was'

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. further reduced its stake in Munich Re as the billionaire investor re-evaluates the attractiveness of the reinsurance market.

The holding was trimmed to 4.6 percent from 9.7 percent, Munich Re said in a filing Friday. Buffett’s firm once owned about 12 percent of the Munich-based reinsurer and has been lowering the stake this year.

Berkshire, which also sells reinsurance, invested from 2008 to 2010 in rivals Munich Re and Swiss Re. Since then, Buffett has soured some on the industry. The companies, which provide backup coverage to primary carriers, have been pressured by competition from Wall Street investors seeking weather-related bets that are uncorrelated to financial markets.

“The reinsurance business is not as good as it was,” Buffett said in May during Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. “It’s a business whose prospects have turned for the worse and there’s not much we can do about it.”

Munich Re’s shares climbed 10 percent this year through Friday, bringing its market value to 30.5 billion euros ($33.5 billion).

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