Berkshire Hathaway returns to profit in the fiscal first quarter

By: Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh is an active follower of world affairs, technology, an avid reader, and loves to play table tennis in his free… read more.
on May 1, 2021
  • Berkshire Hathaway reported £8.47 billion of net income in the first quarter.
  • The U.S. firm's insurance-underwriting business shows robust performance.
  • The multinational extended its share buyback program by £4.78 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) said on Saturday it returned to profit in the fiscal first quarter on the back of robust performance from its insurance business. The company also extended its share buyback programme by £4.78 billion.

The U.S. firm generated £46.76 billion of revenue in Q1. According to Refinitiv, experts had forecast a lower £46.08 billion of revenue instead. Equity investments in the recent quarter stood at £2.03 billion. Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares are currently about 20% up year to date in the stock market.

Berkshire’s insurance-underwriting business reports £553 million of operating earnings

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Berkshire Hathaway reported £8.47 billion of net income in the first quarter that translates to £5,528 per Class A share. In the same quarter last year, Warren Buffet’s conglomerate holding company had posted £35.97 billion of net loss, or £22,185 per Class A share.

The American multinational said its operating earnings in Q1 came in at £5.08 billion versus the year-ago figure of £4.25 billion. At the end of the recent quarter, Berkshire valued its cash position at roughly £105.24 billion – a significant increase from £100.10 billion last year.

The Insurance-underwriting business, as per the Omaha-based firm, reported £552.96 million of operating earnings in Q1, compared to £262.73 million in the first quarter of the previous year. At £880 million, however, insurance-investment income slid from last year’s £1.01 billion.

In separate news, a U.S. jury charged manufacturer 3M with £4.34 million of punitive damages.

Berkshire’s annual meeting for shareholders is scheduled for later on Saturday

Berkshire’s railroad, utilities, and energy segments, on the other hand, earned £1.41 billion in the first quarter versus the year-ago figure of a lower £1.27 billion. The NYSE-listed company’s annual meeting for shareholders is scheduled for later today.

From 1965 to 2020, Berkshire’s annualised gains stood at 20% versus 10.2% gains for S&P 500. In the past five years, however, its annualised gains were capped at 14%, compared to a higher 18% for the S&P 500. In early March, Warren Buffet reversed the historical stance on buyback and other highlights from the 2020 letter.

Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares performed slightly upbeat in the stock market last year with an annual gain of more than 2%. At the time of writing, the American multinational conglomerate holding company is valued at £455.77 billion and has a price to earnings ratio of 15.47.

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