Berkshire shareholders reject Darfur plan
The investor proposal would have required the company to sell its stake
in PetroChina, whose parent does business in Sudan.
By Charles Piller, Times Staff Writer
2:44 PM PDT, May 5, 2007
OMAHA — Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. decisively rejected a
proposal today that would have required the company to sell its
$3.3-billion stake in PetroChina, a subsidiary of a Chinese government
firm that is the largest player in Sudan's oil industry.
Berkshire Chairman Warren E. Buffett, who owns about one-third of his
company's shares, advised against the proposal, which received less than
2% of the votes cast at Berkshire's annual meeting here.
The resolution was meant to hasten the end of the Darfur conflict — in
which the Sudanese military has engaged in genocide, according to the U.S.
government — by pressuring investors to sell holdings in companies whose
activities support Sudan's government.
Berkshire is the largest independent shareholder in PetroChina, whose
parent company, China National Petroleum Corp., drills and exports much of
Sudan's oil, providing funding for Sudan's military. Activists supporting
the shareholder measure placed billboard ads here, Berkshire's home base.
Before the meeting, Buffett called the Darfur violence "deplorable," but
rejected divestment as misguided and ineffective.