March 18, 2018

Main » WRAPUP 1-Warren Buffett says Berkshire needs to do 'huge acquisitions'

WRAPUP 1-Warren Buffett says Berkshire needs to do 'huge acquisitions'

25 February 2018

Warren Buffett wrote that his multinational conglomerate could report $65.3 billion in gains of its net worth for the year.

"In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry", Buffett said last year.

Berkshire Hathaway reported a $65.3 billion increase in book value over 2017, boosted by a $29 billion gain from changes to the US tax regime.

Behring also said the board looks forward to continuing its partnership with Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

The year also saw the company's war chest swell to $116 billion in cash and US Treasury bills, financial manna that Buffett wants to use to make significant new acquisitions.

Almost 45 percent of Berkshire's $65 billion gains in 2017 are attributed to the tax law, according to Buffett.

"We expect Buffett's annual letter to reassure investors that his health remains remarkable and he intends to be around for awhile", said Cathy Seifert, equity analyst at CFRA Research in NY.

The rest was a gift from the new USA tax code.

Buffett says many businesses have overpaid for acquisitions in the past year because of that kind of optimistic attitude.

The company's full-year earnings shot up 87 per cent to $44.9bn, though Buffett admitted only $36bn came from Berkshire's operations.

Not so for Berkshire, Buffett said.

"If Wall Street analysts or board members urge that brand of CEO to consider possible acquisitions, it's a bit like telling your ripening teenager to be sure to have a normal sex life", he wrote. Over the past 53 years, Berkshire has grown its per-share book value at a 19.1% rate compounded annually, better than the 9.9% gain for the S&P 500 stock index, including dividends. And it holds major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co., Apple and Wells Fargo & Co.

On Friday, Berkshire's Class A shares closed at $304,020.01, having risen above $300,000 a share for the first time ever in December on expectations that Trump's USA tax overhaul would pass into law. Operating profit, however, fell 18 percent to $14.46 billion, hurt by a rare loss from insurance underwriting. That ended previous year, and Buffett - who bet slow, steady gains by the S^and^P 500 would beat out hedge funds over the decade - won with flying colors.

Buffett urged investors to stick with stocks even though they can be riskier in the short-term.

WRAPUP 1-Warren Buffett says Berkshire needs to do 'huge acquisitions'