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Business

Berkshire loses, gains in chemicals

by Alexander H. Tullo
March 6, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 10

Berkshire Hathaway’s Lubrizol unit is winding down its oil-field services unit due to a downturn in the oil industry. The move generated a 2016 loss of $365 million for the company. The wind-down includes the sale of Integrity Industries, which Lubrizol acquired as part of its 2014 purchase of the oil-field chemicals business of Weatherford International. Lubrizol will also shutter or sell parts of the business and absorb other lines into the Lubrizol additives business segment. Separately, Berkshire realized a $1.2 billion gain from the conversion, last December, of Dow Chemical preferred stock into common shares, which Berkshire subsequently sold. Berkshire had been receiving dividends of $255 million per year from Dow on the $3 billion worth of preferred shares it purchased back in 2009.

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