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Berkshire Hathaway

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Berkshire Hathaway - March 5th, 2006

Berkshire Hathaway

Founded 1965 (since current management took over)
Location Omaha, Nebraska
Key people Warren Buffett, CEO & Chairman; Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman
Industry Property and casualty insurance, Diversified investments
Products Conglomerate focused on insurance
Revenue $74.4 billion (2004)
Operating Income {{{operating_income}}}
Net Income {{{net_income}}}
Employees 180,000, essentially all with subsidiaries

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRKa, NYSE: BRKb) is a company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. The Company's business activities include underwriting of property and casualty insurance, candy production and sales at retail, newspaper publishing, retailing of home furnishings, sales of encyclopedias, sales of home cleaning units, manufacture and distribution of uniforms, retail jewelry, and manufacture, import and distribution of footwear.

The Company averaged a phenomenal 25%+ annual return to its shareholders for the last 25 years while employing large amounts of capital. Berkshire has identified utility as the next big area it will invest in. In 2005, Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 was repealed; this allowed utility investors such as Berkshire to have more control over their investments.

Berkshire Facts
The Intrinsivaluator site, calculates four valuation metrics for Berkshire, giving estimates from a liquidation value of $80,368 per A share ($2,679 per B share) to an optimistic intrinsic value of $162,071 per A share ($5,402 per B share). All figures as of November 10, 2005.

Berkshire's CEO, Warren Buffett, is respected for his investment prowess and his deep understanding of a wide spectrum of businesses. His annual chairman letters are read and quoted widely. A source of his quotes can be found at Wikiquote - Warren Buffett

As of 2005, Buffett owns 38% of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire's Vice-Chairman Charlie Munger also holds a stake big enough for him to be considered a billionaire in his own right.

Berkshire Hathaway is notable in that it never allows its shares to split. Each share is thus worth tens of thousands of dollars. However, Berkshire Hathaway has created a Class B stock, with a price set to 1/30 of that of the original shares (now Class A) but 1/200 of the per-share voting rights. Holders of Class A stock are allowed to convert their stock to Class B, though not vice versa.

Buffett was reluctant to create the Class B shares, but did so to thwart the creation of unit trusts that would have marketed themselves as Berkshire look-alikes. As Buffett said in his 1995 shareholder letter:

"The unit trusts that have recently surfaced fly in the face of these goals. They would be sold by brokers working for big commissions, would impose other burdensome costs on their shareholders, and would be marketed en masse to unsophisticated buyers, apt to be seduced by our past record and beguiled by the publicity Berkshire and I have received in recent years. The sure outcome: a multitude of investors destined to be disappointed."

Corporate governance
Current members of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway are: Howard G. Buffett, Warren Buffett, Malcolm Chace, Bill Gates, David Gottesman, Charlotte Guyman, Donald Keough, Charles Munger, Thomas S. Murphy, Ronald Olson, and Walter Scott.

Financials
Source: SEC filings

Cash and cash equivalents at September 30, 2005: $41.1 billion USD
Equity investments at September 30, 2005: $45.3 billion USD
Total shareholders’ equity at September 30, 2005: $89.5 billion USD
Revenue for 2004: $74.4 billion USD
Net earnings for 2004: $7.3 billion USD
Income taxes paid in 2004: $3.6 billion USD

Main article: List of assets owned by Berkshire Hathaway

Insurance and finance subsidiaries
Geico
General Re
Kansas Bankers Surety Insurance Company
National Indemnity Company
Wesco Financial Corporation

Other subsidiaries
Borsheim's Fine Jewelry
Dairy Queen
Fruit of the Loom
Nebraska Furniture Mart
The Pampered Chef
See's Candies
World Book
NetJets
Forest River
Business Wire

Berkshire Hathaway Businesses
Source: SEC filings
Insurance and Reinsurance Businesses
Insurance and reinsurance business activities are conducted through more than 50 domestic and foreign-based insurance companies. Berkshire’s insurance businesses provide insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks primarily in the United States. In addition, as a result of the General Re acquisition in December 1998, Berkshire’s insurance businesses also include life, accident and health reinsurers, as well as internationally-based property and casualty reinsurers.


Berkshire’s insurance companies maintain capital strength at exceptionally high levels. This strength differentiates Berkshire’s insurance companies from their competitors. Collectively, the aggregate statutory surplus of Berkshire’s U.S. based insurers was approximately $48 billion at December 31, 2004. All of Berkshire’s major insurance subsidiaries are rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s Corporation, the highest Financial Strength Rating assigned by Standard & Poor’s, and are rated A++ (superior) by A.M. Best with respect to their financial condition and operating performance. This Triple-A status is the result of Buffett's astuteness in the management of capital, people and busines. Berkshire's cheque will clear in the next morning.


GEICO — Berkshire acquired GEICO in January 1996. GEICO is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland and its principal insurance subsidiaries include: Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO General Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company, and GEICO Casualty Company. Over the past five years, these companies have offered primarily private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The subsidiaries market their policies primarily through direct response methods, in which applications for insurance are submitted directly to the companies by telephone, through the mail, or via the Internet.

General Re — Berkshire acquired General Re in December 1998. General Re held a 91% ownership interest in Cologne Re as of December 31, 2004. General Re subsidiaries currently conduct global reinsurance business in approximately 72 cities and provide reinsurance coverage worldwide. General Re operates the following reinsurance businesses: North American property/casualty, international property/casualty, which principally consists of Cologne Re and the Faraday operations, and life/health reinsurance. General Re’s reinsurance operations are primarily based in Stamford, Connecticut and Cologne, Germany. General Re is one of the largest reinsurers in the world based on net premiums written and capital.

Non-Insurance Businesses
Apparel

Berkshire’s apparel businesses include manufacturers and distributors of a variety of clothing and footwear. Businesses engaged in the manufacture and distribution of clothing include Fruit of the Loom, Garan and Fechheimer Brothers. Berkshire’s footwear businesses include H.H. Brown Shoe Group and Justin Brands.

Building Products

In August 2000, Berkshire entered the building products business with the acquisition of Acme Building Brands. Acme, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brick), concrete block (Featherlite) and cut limestone (Texas Quarries).
Berkshire acquired Benjamin Moore & Co. in December of 2000. Benjamin Moore, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is a leading formulator, manufacturer and retailer of a broad range of primarily architectural coatings, available principally in the United States and Canada.
Berkshire acquired Johns Manville in February of 2001. JM has been serving the building products industry for nearly 150 years and is a leading manufacturer of fiber glass wool insulation products for walls, attics and floors in homes and commercial buildings, as well as pipe, duct and equipment insulation products.
Berkshire acquired a 90% equity interest in MiTek Inc. in July 2001. MiTek is headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri and is a leading provider of engineered connector products, engineering software and services, and manufacturing machinery to the truss fabrication segment of the building components industry.

Finance and Financial Products

On August 7, 2003, Berkshire acquired Clayton Homes, Inc. Clayton, headquartered near Knoxville, Tennessee, is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. At year-end 2004, Clayton operated 32 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton’s homes are marketed in 48 states through a network of 1,540 retailers, 391 of which are company-owned sales centers.
Berkshire acquired XTRA in September 2001. XTRA, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a leading transportation equipment lessor. XTRA manages a diverse fleet of approximately 105,000 units, constituting a net investment of approximately $1 billion as of December 31, 2004. The fleet includes over-the-road and storage trailers, chassis, intermodal piggyback trailers and domestic containers.
CORT Business Services Corporation was acquired in 2000 by an 80.1% owned subsidiary of Berkshire and is the leading national provider of rental furniture, accessories and related services in the “rent-to-rent” segment of the furniture rental industry.
Flight Services

In 1996, Berkshire acquired FlightSafety International Inc. FSI’s corporate headquarters is located at LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, New York. FSI engages primarily in the business of providing high technology training to operators of aircraft and ships.
Berkshire acquired NetJets Inc. in 1998. NJ is the world’s leading provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. In 1986, NJ created the fractional ownership of aircraft concept and introduced its NetJets® program in the United States with one aircraft type. In 2004, the NetJets® program operated 15 aircraft types. In late 1996, NJ expanded its fractional ownership programs to Europe via a joint venture arrangement which is now 100% owned by NJ. The fractional ownership of aircraft concept permits customers to acquire a specific percentage of a certain aircraft type and allows them to utilize the aircraft for a specified number of flight hours per annum.
Berkshire acquired McLane Company, Inc. in May 2003 from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. McLane provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include discount retailers, convenience stores, quick service restaurants, drug stores and movie theatre complexes.
Retail Businesses

The home furnishings businesses are the Nebraska Furniture Mart, R.C. Willey Home Furnishings, Star Furniture Company, and Jordan’s Furniture, Inc.
Berkshire acquired Shaw Industries, Inc. in 2001. Shaw, headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, is the world’s second largest carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of production. Shaw designs and manufactures over 3,000 styles of tufted and woven carpet and laminate flooring for residential and commercial use under about 30 brand and trade names and under certain private labels.
Other Non-Insurance Businesses

Scott Fetzer Companies — The Scott Fetzer Companies are a diversified group of 21 businesses that manufacture and distribute a wide variety of products for residential, industrial and institutional use. The two most significant of these businesses are Kirby home cleaning systems and Campbell Hausfeld products.
The Buffalo News publishes three editions on Saturday and Sunday and eight editions each weekday from its headquarters in Buffalo, New York.
See’s Candies produces boxed chocolates and other confectionery products with an emphasis on quality and distinctiveness in two large kitchens in California. See’s revenues are highly seasonal with approximately 50% of total annual revenues being earned in the months of November and December.
International Dairy Queen services a system of approximately 6,000 stores operating under the names Dairy Queen, Orange Julius and Karmelkorn that offer various dairy desserts, beverages, prepared foods, blended fruit drinks, popcorn and other snack foods.
In 2002, Berkshire acquired Albecca Inc. Albecca is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, and primarily does business under the Larson-Juhl name. Albecca designs, manufactures and distributes a complete line of high quality, branded custom framing products, including wood and metal moulding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment and other framing supplies.
Berkshire acquired CTB International Corp. in 2002. CTB, headquartered in Milford, Indiana, is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of systems used in the grain industry and in the production of poultry, hogs, and eggs. Products are produced in the United States and Europe and are sold primarily through a global network of independent dealers and distributors, with peak sales occurring in the second and third quarters.
In 2002 Berkshire acquired The Pampered Chef, LTD, the largest direct seller of high quality kitchen tools in the United States. Products are researched, designed and tested by TPC, and manufactured by third party suppliers. From its Addison, Illinois headquarters, TPC utilizes a network of more than 65,000 independent sales representatives to sell its products through home-based party demonstrations, principally in the United States.
Berkshire currently holds securities possessing 9.9% of the voting interest and an 83.7% (80.5% on a fully-diluted basis) economic interest in MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company.

Common Stock Holdings
This includes outstanding stock as reported in the last SEC filing, and the latest annual report.

American Express Co. (12.1%)
American Standard Companies
Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
Anheuser-Busch Cos.
The Coca-Cola Company (8.3%)
Comcast
Comdisco
Costco Wholesale
Diageo PLC
First Data Corporation
Gannett
Gap Inc.
The Gillette Company (merging with Procter & Gamble) (9.5%)
The Home Depot
H&R Block Inc.
Iron Mountain
Lexmark International
Lowes Companies
M&T Bank
Moody’s Corporation (16.2%)
Mueller Industries
Nike
Outback Steakhouse
PetroChina
Pier 1 Imports
Procter & Gamble Co.
Sealed Air
ServiceMaster
Shaw Communications
SunTrust Banks
Tyco International
USG
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The Washington Post Company (18.1%)
Wells Fargo
Wesco Financial Corporation

Companies with a "beneficial owner" relationship
This includes some of the companies where a Berkshire Hathaway stake is 5% or more of the outstanding stock, as reported in the last proxy statement SEC filing, and the latest annual report.

In order of percentage stake:

The Washington Post Company (18.1%)
Moody’s Corporation (16.2%)
American Express (12.1%)
The Gillette Company (9.5%)
The Coca-Cola Company (8.3%)

Source : http://www.wikipedia.org/
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Re: Berkshire Hathaway - October 14th, 2013

Great...this was very helpful. Thanks a lot and keep them coming
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