Berkshire Hathaway reports $1.5bn Q1 loss
by David Masters
Story link: Berkshire Hathaway reports $1.5bn Q1 loss
Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm owned by US billionaire Warren Buffett, this week reported its first loss since 2001.
The company posted a first quarter loss of $1.53 billion (£1 billion), compared to profit of $940 million in the year ago period.
Revenues dropped 9.5% on year to $22.8 billion.
However, of its four key insurance businesses, only General Re posted a loss.
GEICO, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group all posted a profit, although all three reported a drop in premium income compared to the first quarter of 2008.
Berkshire Hathaway blamed its overall loss on a badly timed purchase of oil stocks; it had to write down $1.9 billion of its stake in oil firm ConocoPhillips that it bought before oil prices plummeted at the end of 2008.
Investments in derivatives made a first quarter loss of $986 million.
Buffett admitted that his firm’s purchase of the ConocoPhillips shares was ‘terrible timing’.