Tag Archives: Financials

Berkshire Hathaway Accelerates Share Buybacks

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Investors wondering whether Warren Buffett thinks that Berkshire Hathaway stock has been undervalued, now have their answer. He does.

Berkshire Hathaway dramatically increased its share buybacks in the third quarter.

Approximately $9 billion was used to repurchase Berkshire shares during the third quarter, as compared to $5.1 billion in buybacks in the second quarter. This brings the nine month total share repurchases to approximately $16 billion.

The average share price Berkshire paid was: $188 for $2.5 billion in July, $210 for $3.1 billion in August, and $215.8 for $3.6 billion in September.

Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders for 2019 detailed his thinking on share buybacks:

In past reports, we’ve discussed both the sense and nonsense of stock repurchases. Our thinking, boiled down: Berkshire will buy back its stock only if a) Charlie and I believe that it is selling for less than it is worth and b) the company, upon completing the repurchase, is left with ample cash.

Calculations of intrinsic value are far from precise. Consequently, neither of us feels any urgency to buy an estimated $1 of value for a very real 95 cents. In 2019, the Berkshire price/value equation was modestly favorable at times, and we spent $5 billion in repurchasing about 1% of the company.

Over time, we want Berkshire’s share count to go down. If the price-to-value discount (as we estimate it) widens, we will likely become more aggressive in purchasing shares. We will not, however, prop the stock at any level.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Third Quarter Earnings

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Earnings of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries for the third quarter and first nine months of 2020 and 2019 are summarized below. Earnings are stated on an after-tax basis. (Dollar amounts are in millions, except for per share amounts).

Third Quarter

First Nine Months

2020

2019

2020

2019

Net earnings attributable to Berkshire shareholders

$

30,137

$

16,524

$

6,686

$

52,258

Net earnings includes:

Investment and derivative gains/losses –

Investments(1)

24,771

8,481

1,271

31,745

Derivatives

(34

)

185

(506

)

961

24,737

8,666

765

32,706

Impairments of intangible assets(2)

(78

)

(214

)

(10,980

)

(214

)

Operating earnings

5,478

8,072

16,901

19,766

Net earnings attributable to Berkshire shareholders

$

30,137

$

16,524

$

6,686

$

52,258

Net earnings per average equivalent Class A Share

$

18,994

$

10,119

$

4,160

$

31,944

Net earnings per average equivalent Class B Share

$

12.66

$

6.75

$

2.77

$

21.30

Average equivalent Class A shares outstanding

1,586,698

1,633,002

1,607,041

1,635,903

Average equivalent Class B shares outstanding

2,380,046,304

2,449,502,430

2,410,561,550

2,453,854,768

Note: Per share amounts for the Class B shares are 1/1,500th of those shown for the Class A.

(1) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) require that we include the changes in unrealized gains/losses of our equity security investments as a component of investment gains/losses in our earnings statements. In the table above, investment gains/losses in 2020 include gains of $22.4 billion in the third quarter and $2.3 billion in the first nine months and in 2019 include gains of $8.0 billion in the third quarter and $30.1 billion in the first nine months due to changes during the third quarter and the first nine months in the unrealized gains that existed in our equity security investment holdings. Investment gains/losses in 2020 also include after-tax realized gains on sales of investments of $3.1 billion during the third quarter and $552 million during the first nine months. In 2019, investment gains/losses include after-tax realized gains of $513 million during the third quarter and $1.6 billion during the first nine months.

The amount of investment gains/losses in any given quarter is usually meaningless and delivers figures for net earnings per share that can be extremely misleading to investors who have little or no knowledge of accounting rules.

(2) Impairments of intangible assets in the first nine months of 2020 include charges of $9.8 billion recorded in the second quarter attributable to impairments of goodwill and certain identifiable intangible assets that were recorded in connection with Berkshire’s acquisition of Precision Castparts Corp. in 2016.

An analysis of Berkshire’s operating earnings follows (dollar amounts are in millions).

Third Quarter

First Nine Months

2020

2019

2020

2019

Insurance-underwriting

$

(213

)

$

440

$

956

$

1,182

Insurance-investment income

1,015

1,484

3,769

4,087

Railroad, utilities and energy

2,742

2,644

6,257

6,447

Other businesses

2,346

2,455

5,833

7,142

Other

(412

)

1,049

86

908

Operating earnings

$

5,478

$

8,072

$

16,901

$

19,766

Approximately $9 billion was used to repurchase Berkshire shares during the third quarter bringing the nine month total to approximately $16 billion. On September 30, 2020 there were 1,570,636 Class A equivalent shares outstanding. At September 30, 2020, insurance float (the net liabilities we assume under insurance contracts) was approximately $135 billion, an increase of $6 billion since yearend 2019.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures. The reconciliations of such measures to the most comparable GAAP figures in accordance with Regulation G are included herein.

Berkshire presents its results in the way it believes will be most meaningful and useful, as well as most transparent, to the investing public and others who use Berkshire’s financial information. That presentation includes the use of certain non-GAAP financial measures. In addition to the GAAP presentations of net earnings, Berkshire shows operating earnings defined as net earnings exclusive of investment and derivative gains/losses and impairments of goodwill and intangible assets.

Although the investment of insurance and reinsurance premiums to generate investment income and investment gains or losses is an integral part of Berkshire’s operations, the generation of investment gains or losses is independent of the insurance underwriting process. Moreover, as previously described, under applicable GAAP accounting requirements, we are required to include the changes in unrealized gains/losses of our equity security investments as a component of investment gains/losses in our periodic earnings statements. In sum, investment gains/losses for any particular period are not indicative of quarterly business performance.

About Berkshire

Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries engage in diverse business activities including insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, freight rail transportation, manufacturing, retailing and services. Common stock of the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading symbols BRK.A and BRK.B.

Cautionary Statement

Certain statements contained in this press release are “forward looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are not guaranties of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those forecasted.

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Second Quarter 2020 Earnings

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

 

Earnings of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries for the second quarter and first six months of 2020 and 2019 are summarized below. Earnings are stated on an after-tax basis. (Dollar amounts are in millions, except for per share amounts).

Second Quarter

First Six Months

2020

2019

2020

2019

Net earnings (loss) attributable to Berkshire shareholders

$

26,295

$

14,073

$

(23,451

)

$

35,734

Net earnings (loss) includes:

Investment and derivative gains/losses –

Investments(1)

31,017

7,766

(23,500

)

23,264

Derivatives

628

168

(472

)

776

31,645

7,934

(23,972

)

24,040

Impairments of intangible assets(2)

(10,863

)

(10,902

)

Operating earnings

5,513

6,139

11,423

11,694

Net earnings (loss) attributable to Berkshire shareholders

$

26,295

$

14,073

$

(23,451

)

$

35,734

Net earnings (loss) per average equivalent Class A Share

$

16,314

$

8,608

$

(14,500

)

$

21,824

Net earnings (loss) per average equivalent Class B Share.

$

10.88

$

5.74

$

(9.67

)

$

14.55

Average equivalent Class A shares outstanding

1,611,760

1,634,962

1,617,325

1,637,378

Average equivalent Class B shares outstanding

2,417,640,311

2,452,442,401

2,425,986,839

2,456,067,007

Note: Per share amounts for the Class B shares are 1/1,500th of those shown for the Class A.

(1) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) require that we include the changes in unrealized gains/losses of our equity security investments as a component of investment gains/losses in our earnings statements. In the table above, investment gains/losses in 2020 include a gain of $34.5 billion in the second quarter and a loss of $19.7 billion in the first six months and in 2019 include a gain of $7.1 billion in the second quarter and $22.2 billion in the first six months due to changes during the second quarter and the first six months in the unrealized gains that existed in our equity security investment holdings. Investment gains/losses in 2020 also include after-tax realized losses on sales of investments of $3.5 billion during the second quarter and $2.6 billion during the first six months. In 2019, investment gains/losses include after-tax realized gains of $662 million during the second quarter and $1.1 billion during the first six months.

The amount of investment gains/losses in any given quarter is usually meaningless and delivers figures for net earnings per share that can be extremely misleading to investors who have little or no knowledge of accounting rules.

(2) Includes $9.8 billion attributable to impairments of goodwill and certain identifiable intangible assets recorded in connection with Berkshire’s acquisition of Precision Castparts Corp. in 2016.

An analysis of Berkshire’s operating earnings follows (dollar amounts are in millions).

Second Quarter

First Six Months

2020

2019

2020

2019

Insurance-underwriting*

$

806

$

353

$

1,169

$

742

Insurance-investment income

1,368

1,366

2,754

2,603

Railroad, utilities and energy

1,764

1,945

3,515

3,803

Other businesses

1,449

2,487

3,487

4,687

Other

126

(12

)

498

(141

)

Operating earnings

$

5,513

$

6,139

$

11,423

$

11,694

* One unusual item to note occurred during the second quarter: On April 8, 2020, GEICO initiated a $2.5 billion “give-back” to policyholders with respect to policies renewed and newly issued policies during the six month period beginning on April 8, 2020. For accounting purposes, the “give-back” will be spread over the twelve month period beginning on April 8, 2020. The effect was to increase GEICO’s underwriting profits during the second quarter that will lead to less favorable results – even perhaps underwriting losses – in the third and fourth quarters. Further details are set forth in our 10-Q.

Approximately $5.1 billion was used to repurchase Berkshire shares during the second quarter bringing the six month total to $6.7 billion. At June 30, 2020, insurance float (the net liabilities we assume under insurance contracts) was approximately $131 billion, an increase of $2 billion since yearend 2019.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures. The reconciliations of such measures to the most comparable GAAP figures in accordance with Regulation G are included herein.

Berkshire presents its results in the way it believes will be most meaningful and useful, as well as most transparent, to the investing public and others who use Berkshire’s financial information. That presentation includes the use of certain non-GAAP financial measures. In addition to the GAAP presentations of net earnings, Berkshire shows operating earnings defined as net earnings exclusive of investment and derivative gains/losses and impairments of goodwill and intangible assets.

Although the investment of insurance and reinsurance premiums to generate investment income and investment gains or losses is an integral part of Berkshire’s operations, the generation of investment gains or losses is independent of the insurance underwriting process. Moreover, as previously described, under applicable GAAP accounting requirements, we are required to include the changes in unrealized gains/losses of our equity security investments as a component of investment gains/losses in our periodic earnings statements. In sum, investment gains/losses for any particular period are not indicative of quarterly business performance.

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Operating Results For Q4 2019 & Full Year 2019

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire’s operating results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2019 and 2018 are summarized in the following paragraphs. However, we urge investors and reporters to read our 2019 Annual Report, which has been posted at www.berkshirehathaway.comThe limited information that follows in this press release is not adequate for making an informed investment judgment.

Earnings of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries for the fourth quarter and full year of 2019 and 2018 are summarized below. Earnings are stated on an after-tax basis. (Dollar amounts are in millions, except for per share amounts).

Fourth Quarter

Full Year

2019

2018

2019

2018

Net earnings (loss) attributable to Berkshire shareholders

$

29,159

$

(25,392

)

$

81,417

$

4,021

Net earnings (loss) includes:

Investment and derivative gains (losses) –

Investments (1)

$

24,527

$

(27,613

)

$

56,272

$

(17,500

)

Derivatives

212

(476

)

1,173

(237

)

Impairment of intangible assets (2)

(3,023

)

(3,023

)

Operating earnings

4,420

5,720

23,972

24,781

Net earnings (loss) attributable to Berkshire shareholders

$

29,159

$

(25,392

)

$

81,417

$

4,021

Net earnings per average equivalent Class A Share

$

17,909

$

(15,467

)

$

49,828

$

2,446

Net earnings per average equivalent Class B Share

$

11.94

$

(10.31

)

$

33.22

$

1.63

Average equivalent Class A shares outstanding

1,628,138

1,641,648

1,633,946

1,643,795

Average equivalent Class B shares outstanding

2,442,207,505

2,462,471,575

2,450,919,020

2,465,692,368

(1) Due to a change in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) in 2018, we are required to include the changes in unrealized gains/losses of our equity security investments as a component of investment gains/losses in our earnings statements. In the table above, investment gains/losses in 2019 include gains of approximately $23.6 billion in the fourth quarter and approximately $53.7 billion for the full year and in 2018 include losses of approximately $28.1 billion in the fourth quarter and approximately $20.6 billion for the full year due to changes during the fourth quarter and for the full year in the unrealized gains that existed in our equity security investment holdings. Investment gains/losses also include after-tax realized gains on sales of investments of approximately $1.0 billion and $0.8 billion during the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2018, respectively, and gains of approximately $2.6 billion and $3.1 billion for the full year of 2019 and 2018, respectively.

The amount of investment gains/losses in any given quarter is usually meaningless and delivers figures for net earnings per share that can be extremely misleading to investors who have little or no knowledge of accounting rules.

(2) Attributable primarily to Berkshire’s equity interest in Kraft Heinz. The comparable amount in 2019 is approximately $435 million and it is included in operating earnings.

An analysis of Berkshire’s operating earnings follows (dollar amounts are in millions).

Fourth Quarter

Full Year

2019

2018

2019

2018

Insurance-underwriting

$

(857

)

$

(225

)

$

325

$

1,566

Insurance-investment income

1,443

1,161

5,530

4,554

Railroad, utilities and energy

1,874

1,736

8,321

7,840

Other businesses

2,230

2,339

9,372

9,364

Other

(270

)

709

424

1,457

Operating earnings

$

4,420

$

5,720

$

23,972

$

24,781

At December 31, 2019, insurance float (the net liabilities we assume under insurance contracts) was approximately $129 billion at December 31, 2019, an increase of $6 billion since yearend 2018.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures. The reconciliations of such measures to the most comparable GAAP figures in accordance with Regulation G are included herein.

Berkshire presents its results in the way it believes will be most meaningful and useful, as well as most transparent, to the investing public and others who use Berkshire’s financial information. That presentation includes the use of certain non-GAAP financial measures. In addition to the GAAP presentations of net earnings, Berkshire shows operating earnings defined as net earnings exclusive of investment and derivative gains/losses.

Although the investment of insurance and reinsurance premiums to generate investment income and investment gains or losses is an integral part of Berkshire’s operations, the generation of investment gains or losses is independent of the insurance underwriting process. Moreover, as previously described, under applicable GAAP accounting requirements, we are now required to include the changes in unrealized gains/losses of our equity security investments as a component of investment gains/losses in our periodic earnings statements. In sum, investment gains/losses for any particular period are not indicative of quarterly business performance.

About Berkshire

Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries engage in diverse business activities including insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, freight rail transportation, manufacturing, retailing and services. Common stock of the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading symbols BRK.A and BRK.B.

Cautionary Statement

Certain statements contained in this press release are “forward looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are not guaranties of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those forecasted.

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.