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Berkshire Hathaway Q1 profit down

Staff writer |
Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. reported a decline in first-quarter profit, hurt by lower earnings from its insurance underwriting and railroad businesses along with weak derivative gains.

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That was partly offset by growth at manufacturing and retail businesses as well as investment gains.

Berkshire reported first-quarter net earnings to shareholders of $4.7 billion or $2,862 per Class A equivalent share, compared with $4.9 billion or $2,977 per Class A equivalent share last year.

Results for the recent quarter included investment gains of $1.02 billion and derivative gains of $153 million, while it was $326 million and $784 million respectively in the prior year.

Excluding items, operating earnings for the quarter were at $3.53 billion or $2,149 per share, compared to $3.78 billion or $2,302 per share a year ago.

Berkshire Hathaway's revenue for the quarter climbed to $45.45 billion from $43.87 billion last year.

Earnings from the company's insurance underwriting businesses for the quarter were at $461 million, compared with $901 million last year. Insurance investment income slid to $720 billion from $799 billion a year ago.

Earnings from the company's railroad business dropped to $724 million from $798 million last year.

Earnings from utilities and energy businesses for the quarter climbed to $452 million from $394 million, and manufacturing, service and retailing to $933 million from $862 million. Earnings from finance and financial products grew to $238 million from $191 million.

At the end of the quarter, Berkshire had book value of $138,426 per share, compared with $134,973 per share a year ago.

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