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Daily Insurance Industry News
Thursday 18th of October 2018
May 11, 2009

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’.

 

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