OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company said Saturday that fourth-quarter earnings rose 10 percent to nearly $5 billion as its insurance, rail and energy businesses generated major gains in the improving economy.
Berkshire Hathaway's insurance companies, which include Geico and General Reinsurance, reported a $394 million underwriting profit for the final three months of 2013, compared with a $19 million loss a year earlier. The Omaha, Neb., company also benefited from the strong performance of its non-insurance companies including BNSF railroad and electric utility MidAmerican Energy.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns roughly 80 subsidiaries, including railroad, clothing, furniture and jewelry firms. Its insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of the company's net income. The company also has major investments in such companies as Coca-Cola Co., IBM and Wells Fargo & Co., and last year bought NV Energy and a major stake in H.J. Heinz.
Berkshire's fourth-quarter report and Buffett's annual letter to shareholders released Saturday show the company doesn't face any significant business issues in the coming year, said author and investor Jeff Matthews, who wrote "Warren Buffett's Successor: Who It Is and Why It Matters."
"Life is good at Berkshire Hathaway," Matthews said Saturday.