Supply Problems Slash Berkshire Hathaway Profits; cash level on record

By Jonathan Stempel

Nov 6 (Reuters) – Warren Buffett conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc said on Saturday that disruption to the global supply chain kept its ability to make a profit at bay, while rising share prices sent it selling some stocks and shares. increase your cash to a record level.

Operating profit rose 18% but fell short of analyst forecasts as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus led to shortages and reduced consumer spending, while damage caused by Hurricane Ida and European floods increased losses at auto insurer Geico and other insurance units.

Meanwhile, net income fell 66%, reflecting lower gains from holdings of stocks such as Apple Inc and Bank of America Corp ..

Berkshire bought back $ 7.6 billion of its own shares in the third quarter and $ 20.2 billion this year, as rising equity markets made buying entire companies increasingly expensive.

The buybacks, which appeared to continue into October, suggest that Buffett, a 91-year-old billionaire, sees greater value in his own Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate, whose businesses include the BNSF railroad and the energy unit of the same name.

“One of the big parlor games is what Berkshire’s next big acquisition will be,” said Cathy Seifert, an analyst at CFRA Research, who has a “hold” rating on Berkshire shares. “I think we just saw it: he bought back $ 20 billion of his own stock.”

Third-quarter operating earnings rose to $ 6.47 billion, or about $ 4.331 per Class A share, from $ 5.48 billion, or about $ 3.488 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were forecasting an average of $ 4.493 per share, according to Refinitiv I / B / E / S.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Edited in Spanish by Rodrigo Charme)

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