Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said it lost $ 49.7 billion, or $ 30,653 per Class A share, in the first three months of this year. (Berkshire Hathaway has two share classes, of which the Class A shares are the most expensive and the main shares.) This is down from first quarter earnings of $ 21.66 billion last year. , or $ 13,209 per share. Berkshire shares closed at $ 273,262 on Friday.
The main driver of the loss was a $ 54.5 billion drop in the value of Berkshire’s investment portfolio as the stock market fell sharply after the start of the coronavirus epidemic. Berkshire investments added $ 15.5 billion to the company’s profits the year before.
Buffett has long said that Berkshire’s operating profit provides a better view of its conglomerate’s quarterly performance, since it excludes investments and derivatives, which can vary widely. According to this measure, Berkshire’s operating profit improved to $ 5.87 billion, or $ 3,617.62 per share, from $ 5.56 billion, or $ 3,387.56 per share. for the quarter.
Yet analysts polled by FactSet expected better – operating earnings per share of $ 3,796.90 on average.
Berkshire’s revenue increased 1% to $ 61.27 billion. The company also holds more than $ 137 billion in cash because Buffett, a famous Wall Street bargain hunter, struggled to find major acquisitions for the company recently when stock values were at levels record.
Buffett plans to direct a “virtual” shortened version of the Berkshire annual meeting online Saturday afternoon without any of the 40,000 shareholders who typically attend the festive event. The companyand canceled all of the usual hoopla surrounding the event due to the coronavirus outbreak. He should answer certain questions from shareholders selected by several journalists.
Berkshire owns more than 90 companies, including rail and insurance, utilities, furniture and jewelry BNSF. The company also has significant investments in companies like Apple, American Express, Coca-Cola and Bank of America.