Berkshire Hathaway Releases Their Annual Shareholder's Letter

-- Illustration of a letter with highlighted text --Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released their annual shareholder letter earlier today.

The shareholder letter was signed by Warren E. Buffett, Chairman of the Board of Berkshire Hathaway, on February 26th, 2010.

Here are some of the pieces of information in the report that stood out to me:

-per-share book value of Berkshire Hathaway increased 19.8% last year, compared to a 26.5% for the S&P 500 (with dividends included)

-this is the first time that Berkshire Hathaway has failed to beat the S&P 500 since 2004

-compounded annual gain for Berkshire Hathaway is 20.3% from 1965-2009, compared to 9.3% for the S&P 500 during that same period of time

-overall gain for Berkshire Hathaway from 1964 to 2009 is 434,057%, compared to 5,430% for the S&P 500

-$ gain in net worth for Berkshire Hathaway in 2009 was $21.8 billion

-Berkshire Hathaway added "at least" 65,000 new shareholders due to its acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe

-market-value gain for Berkshire Hathaway since 1965 is 801,516%

-Berkshire Hathaway consistently outperforms the S&P 500, especially in years when the S&P 500 is negative

-Buffett points out that Berkshire Hathaway was a supplier of liquidity and capital during the financial crisis of 2008, injection $15.5 billion worth of funds into "a business world that could otherwise look only to the federal government for help."

-Buffett also points out that Berkshire maintains a $20 billion-plus mountain of cash and cash equivalents that earn a "pittance" but allow management to "sleep well"

-"we make no attempt to woo Wall Street"

-Buffett blasts the news organizations that presented an incomplete accounting of some of his statements in last year's shareholder letter regarding the economy and where the markets might be heading

-Berkshire Hathaway's largest single stock investment (in terms of % of company owned) is American Express, followed by BYD Company, Ltd and Coca-Cola.

-Berkshire Hathaway's recently purchased positions in non-traded securities of Dow Chemical, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Swiss Re and Wrigley provide Berkshire with an aggregate of $2.1 billion annually in dividends and interest

-largest sales for Berkshire Hathaway in 2009 were ConocoPhillips, Moody's, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.

-"we've put a lot of money to work during the chaos of the last two years"

-"in my view a board of directors of a huge financial institution is derelict if it does not insist that its CEO bear full responsibility for risk control"

-CEOs and directors of failed companies should be forced to pay a heavy price, rather than skating off unscathed

-Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder's meeting will take place on Saturday, May 1st


All in all, a strong year for Berkshire Hathaway that was highlighted by the company's large acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Co (BNI).

Berkshire Hathaway currently trades for $119,800 per share, which is right near its 52 week high.

Source: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Letters

Filed under: General Market News

Related Articles