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Buffett vouches for American Express but acknowledges growing competition

WarrenBuffett is keeping his faith in AmericanExpress Co., even as the company tries to recover from the loss ofa pair of co-brand card partners.

Buffett,whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc.is the largest shareholder of American Express, said April 30 that he remainscomfortable with the investment despite the business' struggles during the pastseveral months. American Express announced in recent months that it wouldsplit with Costco Wholesale Corp.and JetBlue Airways Inc., dealing a blow to its financial prospects andprompting speculationthat the company could put itself up for sale.

"Ipersonally feel OK about American Express, and I'm happy to own it,"Buffett said during Berkshire's annual shareholders meeting. "But theirposition has been under attack for decades, more intensely lately, and it willcontinue to be under attack."

Berkshirere-evaluates its various investments on a continuous basis, he added, whileVice Chairman Charles Munger pointed out that companies can still be valuableeven if their best days are behind them.

"Alot of great businesses aren't quite so great as they used to be," he said.

Berkshire'sinvestment in American Express totaled $9.92 billion, or roughly a 15.94%stake, at the end of 2015.