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May 4 2015, 06.50am GMT


Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) posted a 20 percent rise in first quarter operating profits, boosted by increased revenues in both the company’s core divisions, insurance & railroad.

The results have come as investors prepared to celebrate at an annual meeting on Saturday, 50 years of Berkshire Hathaway under the reign of Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mr. Buffett has managed to transform Berkshire into a massive conglomerate of 80 businesses that it owns. These businesses rage from Dairy Queen to Clayton Homes to Lubrizol. At the core of Berkshire lies it insurance operations like Geico Corp. & reinsurer General Re, and also includes a large portfolio of securities.

In March this year, Berkshire assisted in engineering the planned merger of H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. The company previously teamed up with 3G Capital Partners LP, a private equity firm in 2013 to buy Heinz for around $23 billion.

Overall, the company reported $5.16 billion in 1st quarter profits or $3,143 per Class A share, higher than a year-ago when it reported $4.71 billion, or $2,862 per share. With some investment results excluded, operating profits were up from $3.53 billion, or $2,149 per share to $4.24 billion, or $2,583 a Class A share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected $2,373 per Class A share of operating earnings.

Added to this, revenues increased from $45.45 billion to $48.64 billion.

The company’s insurance operations announced a $480 million of underwriting profits from reporting $461 million a year-ago.

Also, revenues were up from $9.75 billion to $9.89 billion at the company’s closely watched utilities, railroad and energy unit.

Warren Buffett has a preferred yardstick for the measurement of net worth. This measurement is the per-share book value, calculated by assets minus liabilities and this has increased 0.5 percent since the end of 2014. As of the end of March 2015, this was standing at $146,963 per Class A share.

On Friday, Class A shares closed at $215,800 dropping 4.5 percent this year so far.

MT4 Chart: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A)

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