Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Q4 profit rises 32%

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said fourth-quarter profit rose 32 percent, helped by improved results in its insurance operations and higher gains from investments and derivatives.

Net income rose to $5.48 billion, or $3,333 per Class A share, from $4.16 billion, or $2,529 per share, a year earlier.

Quarterly operating profit rose 18 percent to $4.67 billion, or $2,843 per share, from $3.96 billion, or $2,412 per share.

Analysts on average had forecast operating profit of $2,814 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 7 percent to $51.82 billion.

Book value per share, which measures assets minus liabilities and which Buffett considers a good yardstick for Berkshire’s intrinsic worth, rose 6.4 percent from a year earlier to $155,501.

For all of 2015, profit rose 21 percent to $24.08 billion, or $14,656 per share. It would have edged lower but for a gain from the merger that created Kraft Heinz Co, Berkshire said. Operating profit rose 5 percent to $17.36 billion, or $10,564 per share.

Buffett, 85, has run Berkshire for nearly 51 years.

He has transformed it from a failing textile company into a conglomerate with roughly 90 businesses in such areas as insurance, railroads, energy, food, apparel and real estate.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company also has well over $100 billion of equity investments, including American Express Co. , Coca-Cola Co, IBM Corp, Kraft Heinz and Wells Fargo & Co.

Berkshire ended the year with $71.73 billion in cash. It spent some of it last month when it acquired industrial parts maker Precision Castparts Corp, Buffett’s largest acquisition.


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