Warren Buffett: ‘Berkshire is a fortress even in the face of financial disaster’

Warren Buffett: 'Berkshire is a fortress even in the face of financial disaster' 8
Warren Buffett: 'Berkshire is a fortress even in the face of financial disaster' 8

In his annual letter to shareholders yesterday, Warren Buffett – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – said the corporation worth more than 900 billion USD is `a fortress that can withstand even when a financial disaster occurs`.

`Berkshire is built to last,` he wrote.

Buffett affirmed that the company is performing better than other US corporations despite the risks the country and global financial markets are facing.

Berkshire’s CEO also gave his most sincere words to Deputy General Charlie Munger – a long-time collaborator who passed away last November.

Warren Buffett said it was Munger who inspired him to buy great businesses at fair prices, instead of fair companies at bargain prices.

`Berkshire Hathaway could not be in its current position if it were not for Charlie’s intelligence and inspirational ability. In a way, he is like a brother and father to me,` CEO Warren Buffett wrote when mentioning

Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan said Buffett `wouldn’t have been as successful` without Munger.

Investors believe `Berkshire is unlikely to be harmed` with its strong, diverse assets.

Billionaire Warren Buffett – CEO of investment company Berkshire Hathaway.

The group’s shares have increased nearly 4,385% since Buffett took over in 1965, or a compound annual rate of 19.8%.

According to 2023 financial results, the 93-year-old billionaire’s company earned a profit of 37.4 billion USD and a net profit of 96.2 billion USD.

At the same time, investments in stock portfolios such as Apple, American Express, Bank of America and Coca-Cola… brought a net profit of 96.2 billion USD for the group.

Following the departure of Deputy General Munger, the 93-year-old billionaire assured investors that Vice Chairman and designated successor Greg Abel `is ready to become CEO of Berkshire in every aspect tomorrow`.

Berkshire owns many subsidiaries, from auto insurer Geico and railroad business BNSF to consumer brands such as Dairy Queen, Duracell and Fruit of the Loom.

In the energy sector, in addition to holding shares in Japanese enterprises (Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo), the group also holds 28% shares in Occidental Petroleum.

Last month, billionaire Warren’s group spent $2.6 billion to buy the remaining 20% of Pilot Travel Centers – the Haslam family’s company – to take ownership of more than 725 truck stops in the US and Canada.

In his letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett also reiterated Berkshire’s investment strategy of choosing businesses, not stocks, and the principle of `not losing money` when deciding whether to invest capital in a certain company or not.

This caution is also reflected in the fact that Berkshire is holding a record amount of cash (nearly $168 billion) and selling more shares, about $24 billion, than it bought last year.

Buffett’s letter this time does not mention Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who are expected to oversee Berkshire’s stock investments after his death.

This year’s annual shareholder meeting of Berkshire is scheduled to take place on May 4 in Omaha.

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