Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust is a non-operating private foundation that works to help people lead healthy, productive lives. Its equity portfolio, worth almost $20 billion, is managed by Michael Larson. Nearly half of this portfolio is invested in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B); Warren Buffett has been donating stock to the Foundation, piece-by-piece, over the past decade. Apart from this huge stake in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), the fund owns approximately $10 billion in other companies’ stock. In this article we will take a look at its top positions and the changes that they have experienced over the second quarter of the year. The companies implied are: The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) and Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE:CNI).
Excluding Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), the foundation’s largest bet is placed on The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), a beverages giant that needs no introduction whatsoever. For the sixth consecutive quarter, the Trust’s position remained untouched, at 34 million shares. However, the stock returned 8.75% over the second quarter, making the fund’s holdings gain in value. According to the last 13F, the fund’s stake in the company is worth more than $1.44 billion.
There are only two hedge funds – amongst those that we track – that hold even larger stakes in The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO): Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Donald Yacktman’s Yacktman Asset Management. The first fund owns 400 million shares of the company, worth almost $17 billion; Yacktman Asset Management holds 44.37 million shares, worth $1.8 billion.
Second in line, for the second consecutive quarter, is Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), a $67.6 billion market cap manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust disclosed ownership of 11.26 million shares of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), worth more than $1.22 billion by the end of the second quarter of 2014.
This position makes of the Foundation the largest hedge fund shareholder of record –amongst those we track, trailed, from far behind, by Phill Gross and Robert Atchinson’s Adage Capital Management, which last declared holding $105 million in stock, or 967,255 shares of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT).
Despite the fact that the stakes remained unchanged over the second quarter, Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE:CNI) replaced McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) in this list. While both these stocks gained ground over the quarter, Canadian National Railway returned 17%, compared to McDonald’s 3.6% appreciation. The Foundation’s stake in the $57 billion market cap railroads company is now worth more than $1.11 billion, and comprises 17.12 million shares.
Once again, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust is the larges hedge fund shareholder, according to our database, by a wide margin. Second in line is D E Shaw, which holds 3.86 million shares of Canadian National Railway (USA) (NYSE:CNI), worth more than $250 million.
Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no position in any stocks or funds mentioned.