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Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) earnings Q1 2022


Warren Buffett

Gerry Miller | CNBC

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced Saturday that earnings for the first quarter were down, however it was not unaffected by a slower U.S. economic growth.

Net earnings of the company were $5.46 Billion, a drop of more than 53% compared to $11.71 Billion in the previous year.

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Berkshire’s operating earnings — which encompass profits made from the myriad of businesses owned by the conglomerate like insurance, railroads and utilities — were flat year over year at $7.04 billion. The earnings of Berkshire’s insurance business dropped sharply to $47m from $764m in the previous year.

Berkshire’s Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Segment earned 15.5% more than $3.03 Billion in the third quarter. Railroad and utility earnings were slightly higher.

These operating results were achieved at a time when the U.S. economic declined in the first quarter. the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The investment losses also caused a significant impact on the company. It reported a loss in excess of $1.58billion amid wider market declines. Buffett advises investors to disregard quarterly fluctuations in their investments.

Berkshire released Saturday’s statement that “the amount of investment gains or losses in any quarter is often meaningless” and provided figures for net earnings per shares. This can be very misleading to investors with little or no accounting knowledge.

Berkshire’s share buybacks declined to $3.2 billion, from $6.9 million in the fourth quarter. The company had previously been more active in dealmaking than any time before.

The company announced that it had agreed to purchase an insurer in March. Alleghany for $11.6 billion — marking Buffett’s biggest deal since 2016. Berkshire has also revealed a stake to oil giant Occidental Petroleum that’s now worth more than $7 billionAlong with the position, HP Inc that’ now valued at more than $4.5 billion.

Berkshire has performed admirably in this difficult environment. The conglomerate’s Class A stock is up more than 7% for the year — outperforming the S&P 500, which is down 13.3% for 2022. Although the cash pile was smaller than in the fourth quarter of 2018, the company had $106.3 billion of cash at the end of this quarter.

As thousands of people flocked to Omaha in Nebraska, Nebraska, for Berkshire’s annual meeting where Buffett will answer questions and Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman, the company released its latest quarterly numbers. CNBC will host the exclusive livestream on Saturday starting at 9:45 a.m. ET.)

Some of the topics Berkshire shareholders will want the pair to discuss include their market outlook — given the recent inflationary pressures and rising rates — as well as more clarity on the company’s succession plan.

You can view all the coverage of CNBC Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting here.