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Buffett's firm reports 4 percent dip in 1Q profit

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm •  Published: May 2, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company said Friday its first-quarter profit slipped nearly 4 percent largely because of an accounting charge in its insurance units.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. earned $4.71 billion, or $2,862 per Class A share, during the first three months of 2014. That's down from $4.89 billion, or $2,977 per Class A share, a year earlier.

Berkshire's revenue increased nearly 4 percent to $45.45 billion from $43.87 billion in the same period last year.

Berkshire said its insurance underwriting profits fell to $461 million from $901 million a year earlier largely because of a deferred charge related to some retroactive insurance policies.

Losses related to foreign currency exchanges also weighed down insurance results. Berkshire said its underwriting results included a loss of $37 million in this year's quarter because of exchange rates, compared to last year's gain of $189 million on exchange rates.

Berkshire's sizeable insurance unit includes Geico, General Reinsurance and several other companies.

The quarterly results will likely be well received by the more than 30,000 people expected to attend Berkshire's shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday. The crowd will fill an arena and several overflow rooms to hear Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger answer questions for several hours.

Most of the various parts of Berkshire delivered solid results in the quarter.

The utility and energy division, which is led by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, generated $452 million net income, up from $394 million in last year's first quarter. And those figures don't include the $2.9 billion acquisition of Canadian power transmission provider AltaLink that was announced this week.

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