Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. added an investment in Kinder Morgan Inc. during the fourth quarter as shares of the pipeline operator plunged.
Berkshire held 26.5 million shares of the company as of Dec. 31, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday from Buffett’s Omaha-based company. The investment was valued at $395.9 million at the end of 2015, based on a closing share price of $14.92. That compares with more than $38 on June 30.
Kinder Morgan slashed investor payouts for the first time in company history in December to avoid a credit downgrade to junk status. The Houston-based company also said last month that it may sell assets to raise cash.
The stock has “gotten crushed and it’s a controversial company,” Jeff Matthews, an investor and author of Buffett-related books, said. “It’s a business that’s going to last for a long time,” which makes it a logical investment for Berkshire, he said.
Oil drillers, gold miners and rig operators have sacrificed dividends to conserve cash amid tumbling prices in oversupplied commodity markets. When Kinder Morgan cut its dividend in December, the company also pledged not to issue new shares through 2018.
Berkshire also exited a stake in Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. and again added to its holding in Wells Fargo & Co.
Another opportunity that Buffett, 85, has seen recently is Houston-based Phillips 66. Berkshire disclosed in August that it held more than 10 percent of the oil refiner’s stock and has boosted its stake with regular purchases.