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Daily Insurance Industry News
Friday 19th of January 2018
March 1, 2009

Berkshire Hathaway profit down 96%

by Gill Montia

Story link: Berkshire Hathaway profit down 96%

Berkshire Hathaway Inc has reported a 96% fall in profit for the final quarter of 2008, to $117 million.

The insurance company cum investment vehicle, headed by Warren Buffett, said the figures reflect losses on derivatives contracts.

Pre-tax losses on around 250 such contracts tied to four stock markets amounted to $4.61 billion.

Results for the fourth quarter dragged profit for the whole year down 62% to a six-year low of $4.99 billion, while revenue declined 9%, to $107.8 billion.

The group’s earnings have now been on the slide for five consecutive quarters and shareholders have been warned that difficulties will continue throughout 2009 and beyond.

The diversity of Berkshire Hathaway’s 70 companies extends as far as ice cream, underwear and aircraft leasing.

However, over half the group’s business is in the insurance sector and insurance subsidiaries, National Indemnity, General Re and Geico saw fourth-quarter profit more than double, to $1.18 billion, with the group’s reinsurance and car insurance businesses both leading contributors to the rise.

 

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