Business

Buffett talks about Kraft Heinz, Wells Fargo problems

OMAHA: Investment guru Warren Buffett on Saturday signalled his commitment to Kraft Heinz and defended his actions towards Wells Fargo, two of the largest investments at his Berkshire Hathaway.

Mr Buffett spoke before tens of thousands of people in Nebraska, where the Berkshire chairman and chief executive officer and vice-chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for six hours.

Kraft Heinz has been a thorn for Berkshire, which in February took a US$3 billion (S$4 billion) write-down on its 26.7 per cent stake, because of the packaged food company's inability to keep up with changing consumer tastes and reliance on older brands such as Jell-O.

The company was created from the 2015 merger of Kraft Foods and H. J. Heinz. The latter had been owned by Berkshire and Brazil's 3G Capital, which runs Kraft Heinz day-to-day.

Mr Buffett defended 3G's management, saying the combined company is doing well operationally and its current problems cannot be blamed on a lack of investment.

He also faced a question about his relative silence on Wells Fargo, where Berkshire owns a nearly 10 per cent stake.

Wells Fargo has spent more than 21/2 years addressing fallout from mistreating its customers, including by creating fake accounts, losing two chief executives in the process.

Mr Buffett repeated Wells Fargo "made some big mistakes" in its sales practices, and "when you find a problem, you have to do something about it". - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE