Berkshire Hathaway profit rises 51 percent in Q1

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Omaha, NE, United States (4E) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett reported a 51 percent rise in first-quarter profit, citing increased profits at its railroad and improved insurance operations.

In a statement, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said net income jumped to $4.89bn, or $2,977 per share, compared to $3.25bn, or $1,966 per share, in the previous year. The company’s cash reserves grew to $49.1bn from $47bn in the fourth quarter, surpassing the previous record of $47.9bn set in mid-2011.

The result came a day before Buffett welcomes participants to Omaha who will be attending Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting.

Recovery in the U.S. economy and the improving housing market have helped boost Berkshire’s insurance operations, which posted a huge climb in underwriting profit to $901mn from $54mn posted a year ago.

Derivatives also helped this year’s quarterly results as the rally in global stocks boosted gains from equity index puts to $1.25bn in the first quarter from $689mn a year earlier.

Operating profit, excluding certain investment items, stood at $2,302 per share, beating the estimate of $1,996 by three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

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