Berkshire Hathaway Posts $3.6B 1Q Profit

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.a), (BRK.b) earned $3.63 billion in the first quarter compared to a net loss of $1.53 billion in the year ago period. All the improvement was in the conglomerate’s operating profits which went from $1.7 billion last year to $2.2 billion, up 30%, in the most recent quarter, reversing a year-ago loss of $3.2 billion.

Speaking to a packed auditorium of some 40,000 investors at Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting, Mr. Buffett said the company’s preliminary first-quarter results show that the global economy is showing significant signs of recovery for the first time.

WSJ: “What was sort of a sputtering recovery months ago seemed to pick up steam in March and April,” Mr. Buffett said. “We’re seeing a pretty good uptick.”

Buffet also said in relation to earnings that the acquisition of Burlington Northern (BNI) helped push profits in the company’s regulated business unit to $555 million in the January-March period. The investment and derivative portion of earning was $1.41 billion compared to ($3.2) billion last year.

Here is Berkshire’s preliminary first quarter after-ax earnings summary: [via Business Wire]

 Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
                Preliminary First Quarter After-Tax Earnings
                                                      (in millions)
                                                    2              2
                                                   010            009
                                              ---------      ----------
Insurance - underwriting                      $    226       $     202
Insurance - investment income                      938           1,004
                                                 -----          ------
  Total insurance                                1,164           1,206
Regulated businesses                               555             268
Manufacturing, service & retailing                 477             258
Finance                                             69              68
Other                                              (43 )           (95 )
                                                 -----          ------
  Operating earnings                             2,222           1,705
Investment and derivative gains/losses           1,411          (3,239 )
                                                 -----          ------
  Net earnings                                $  3,633       $  (1,534 )
                                              == =====       == ======

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