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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Keeps Adding to Occidental Petroleum Stake

This year’s rise in oil prices has lifted Occidental’s earnings, and the stock.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway continued to add to its large stake in Occidental Petroleum OXY +8.21%  in recent days, buying about 900,000 shares and lifting its interest in the energy company to 15.3%, according to a filing Thursday evening.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––about:blank

Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK. A, BRK. B) now holds 143.2 million shares of Occidental Petroleum (OXY) worth $8.5 billion.

As a holder of more than 10% of Occidental, Berkshire must disclose trades in the stock within two business days via a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Berkshire purchases of Occidental occurred on Tuesday and Thursday.

The additional purchases may fuel speculation that Berkshire, headed by CEO Warren Buffett, will add further to its stake and reach 20%, or potentially bid for the entire company. At 20%, Berkshire likely would get a different accounting treatment for Occidental that would let it reflect a proportional share of Occidental’s earnings in its own results.

Berkshire’s Class A shares were down 1.4% Thursday to $461,631 while Occidental stock fell 1.5% to $59.22. Occidental earlier this week reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.12 a share, compared with a loss of 15 cents in the year-earlier period. The earnings topped the FactSet consensus estimate by 15 cents.

Even after doubling in price this year, Occidental stock trades for just seven times projected 2022 earnings, reflecting how the sharp rise in the cost of oil and gas has lifted its profits.