Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported strong first quarter earnings growth as its investment portfolio grew alongside a large market rally and its vast group of companies rebounded from the depths of the crisis it a year ago.
The company said on Saturday it reached $ 11.7 billion in profit from a loss of $ 49.7 billion a year earlier, numbers heavily influenced by changes in its 282 billion stock portfolio. of dollars that includes big names such as Apple and Bank of America.
Its main operating activities, which include insurer Geico, railway company BNSF and ice cream chain Dairy Queen, also improved. The operating profit of these companies increased 19.5% to $ 7 billion from the previous year.
The company’s closely examined cash stack climbed to $ 145.4 billion from $ 138.3 billion at the end of 2020. Berkshire revealed that it spent $ 6.6 billion in the quarter to repurchase its Class A and B shares, as it continued to direct much of its firepower towards stocks. redemptions.
The results come hours before Buffett and a trio of Berkshire executives address the company’s shareholders at an annual meeting that could prove to be the most divisive in years.
A host of big shareholders, including California pension fund Calpers and asset manager Neuberger Berman, have warned they will withhold votes from some directors on the Berkshire board as they push the conglomerate to adopt shareholder proposals focused on society and the environment.
Buffett will be joined by Berkshire Vice Presidents Charlie Munger, Greg Abel and Ajit Jain at the annual meeting, which this year takes place from Los Angeles, away from the usual downtown Omaha venue.
The coronavirus has for the second year prevented an annual rally that has typically drawn tens of thousands of Berkshire shareholders to the Midwestern town.
Berkshire Class A shares have climbed 18.6% so far this year and closed at $ 412,500 apiece on Friday. The gain puts the conglomerate ahead of the 11.8% total return of the benchmark S&P 500, paving the way for Berkshire to eclipse the performance of the broad market in any given year for the first time since 2018.