Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported Friday it had $3.25 billion in net income in the first three months of 2012, more than double the $1.51 billion of a year ago.
Earnings a year ago were reduced by about $1.1 billion in insurance losses from catastrophes in Japan, New Zealand and Australia. In the first quarter of 2010, without those large losses, net income was $3.6 billion.
Berkshire, the Omaha-based investment company, headed by Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, usually makes its first-quarter results public during its annual shareholders meeting, which will be Saturday in Omaha.
Berkshire said Friday the latest quarterly net income amounted to $1,966 per Class A share, compared with $917 per Class A share in the year-ago period. Revenue was up 13.1 percent to $38.1 billion for the quarter, while insurance losses were down 20.7 percent to $4.8 billion.
Berkshire’s cash and cash equivalents was $33.6 billion on March 31, up $81 million from a year earlier.
Berkshire said the value of its derivative investments gained $580 million during the quarter, compared with an $82 million loss in the first quarter of 2011. The derivatives are insurance-like holdings based on the future value of major stock markets.
Berkshire’s first-quarter operating earnings, which don’t include investment gains or losses, totaled $2.67 billion, up 67 percent from $1.59 billion a year earlier. The figure represents the performance of the businesses that Berkshire owns.
Berkshire said it paid about $1.5 billion during the first quarter to increase its ownership of Marmon Holdings Inc., a Chicago-based industrial company, to 80.2 percent. Berkshire has been adding to its Marmon holdings since 2008 under a long-term acquisition agreement.
Berkshire’s CTB Inc. farm products company also said it agreed to acquire Meyn Holding BV of the Netherlands for an undisclosed amount.
Berkshire’s insurance operations had $1.1 billion in operating earnings before taxes, compared with a loss of $15 million a year earlier. Its BNSF Railway had $1.1 billion in operating earnings during the quarter, up from $965 million a year earlier. MidAmerican Energy Holdings, based in Des Moines, had $483 million in operating earnings, up from $451 million a year earlier.
Before the earnings report, Berkshire’s stock price closed at $121,950 for Class A shares and $80.94 for Class B shares, each changing only slightly for the day.
The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Contact the writer: