Berkshire Hathaway’s operating profits recovered as the conglomerate’s business recovered from the pandemic. President Warren Buffett continued to aggressively repurchase Berkshire shares in the first quarter, but at a slightly slower pace.
Berkshire reported operating revenue of $ 7.018 billion in the first quarter, a 20% increase from $ 5.871 billion in the same period last year. The conglomerate’s hodgepodge of business, including insurance, transportation, utilities, retail and manufacturing, saw signs of a recovery amid the reopening of the economy.
During the first quarter, the company repurchased $ 6.6 billion in Berkshire shares, after a record $ 24.7 billion in repurchases last year, rather than deals. The conglomerate recorded $ 9 billion in share repurchases in the fourth quarter.
Berkshire Hathaway’s cash stack grew by about 5% during the quarter, to more than $ 145.4 billion. Slightly below the record level seen at the end of the third quarter of last year.
Buffett has been on the sidelines as the trading environment becomes more competitive and market valuations become high. The legendary investor said at last year’s annual meeting that he saw nothing attractive to pull the trigger for a sizeable takeover as in the past.
Berkshire’s capital investments also posted solid gains, increasing by approximately $ 4.69 billion in the last quarter. However, Buffett told shareholders not to focus on quarterly fluctuations in investment gains and losses.
“The amount of investment gains (losses) in any quarter is usually meaningless and provides net earnings per share figures that can be extremely misleading for investors who have little or no knowledge of accounting rules,” Berkshire said in a statement.
Thanks to the buyback program and a recovery in its operating businesses, Berkshire’s “B” shares rose by more than 18% in 2021 to a record high.
The conglomerate’s total revenue reached $ 64.6 billion in the last quarter, higher than Street’s estimate of $ 63.66 billion, according to Refinitiv.
Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting will begin on Saturday at 1:30 pm ET, in Los Angeles, with Buffett and Vice President Charlie Munger in attendance. The event will be held practically without participants for the second time.