Warren Buffett is betting on oil sands

Earlier this year billionaire-investor-philanthropist Warren Buffett boasted his company Berkshire Hathway’s commitment to┬árenewable energy.

But in this last quarter the business magnate has developed an interest in a different kind of energy: oil sands. Based on the company’s most recent equity portfolio update, Buffett’s empire now controls 17.8 million shares of Calgary-based Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU), Reuters reports. That’s $524 million.

In fact, Berkshire has acquired a massive amount of stocks in the past few months – $4.6 billion worth. Purchases include General Motors, Dish Network Corp, Wells Fargo and US Bancorp. This is the most the company has spent on stocks in one quarter since 2011.

As news came out that Suncor had the billionaire’s backing, the energy firm’s share price jumped more than 3%, trading at $33.75 – the highest point since February.

“Suncor is one of the most heavily undervalued Canadian integrated oil producers,” an equity analyst told Reuters about the purchase. “It is no surprise that a value investor like Berkshire Hathaway would view it as a phenomenal investment opportunity.

Hoping to get some industry insight, investors and analysts are often eager to see where Buffett – whose net worth is estimated at $53 billion – is putting his money.

Buffett’s moves are so closely watched and copied that in 2011 the Securities and Exchange Commission – which usually shows no mercy when it comes to disclosures – allowed the businessman to keep secret his 5.5% stake in International Business Machines (IBM).┬á

The billionaire is a big fan of the energy and transportation industry, from railways to cars to solar power to oil sands.

“Society will forever need massive investment in both transportation and energy,” he said in a letter to shareholders earlier this year. “It is in the self-interest of governments to treat capital providers in a manner that will ensure the continued flow of funds to essential projects.”

Suncor released Q2 earnings late last month showing a drop in earnings from $1.2 billion in Q2 2012 to $934 million. The company’s net profits for the quarter totalled $680 million compared with $324 million last year.

185 0