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Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) Earnings Beat Estimates in Q1

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B) reported first-quarter 2016 operating earnings of $1.52 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.75. Earnings were down 12% on a year-over-year basis.

 

Berkshire Hathaway's lower-than-expected earnings were the result of higher operating earnings from insurance operations, Manufacturing, Service and Retailing, and Finance & Financial Products.

Revenues in the reported quarter came in at $52.4 billion, up 7.8% year over year.

Segment Results

Berkshire Hathaway’s huge and growing Insurance Operations have kept its underwriting profit streak alive for over 13 years. Insurance Group revenues were $12.2 billion, up 16% year over year on higher contributions from GEICO, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group as well as higher investment income. Operating earnings before tax, of the segment, increased 55% year over year to $1.5 billion. Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group’s property and casualty business contributed less to overall results.

Railroad, Utilities and Energy operating revenues decreased 10.1% year over year to $8.9 billion due to a decline in revenues from the railroad business and soft energy business due to weak demand, especially in coal and certain industrial products’ categories. Operating earnings of $1.8 billion decreased 21.7% year over year, primarily due to a 24.8% decline in earnings from the railroad business and a 4.5% decline in earnings from the energy business.

Total revenue at Manufacturing, Service and Retailing grew 12.8% year over year to $28.2 billion. Higher contribution from Industrial products, building products and consumer products led to the upside. Operating earnings increased 11.8% year over year to $1.9 billion owing to the PCC business acquisition.

Revenues at Berkshire Hathaway's Finance & Financial Products – including Clayton Homes (manufactured housing and finance), CORT Business Services (furniture rental), Marmon (rail car and other transportation equipment manufacturing, repair, and leasing), and XTRA (over-the-road trailer leasing) – slumped 68% year over year to $0.9 billion. Operating earnings before tax increased 7.7% year over year to $478 million.

Financial Position

Consolidated shareholders’ equity at Mar 31, 2016 was $258.7 billion, reflecting an increase of 1.2% from Dec 31, 2015. Consolidated cash approximated $55.6 billion at Mar 31, 2016, down from $61.2 billion as of Dec 31, 2015. Cash from operations totaled $7.5 billion, up 25% year over year.

At Mar 31, 2016, Berkshire Hathaway’s book value increased 1.2% since year-end 2015 to $104.90 per share.

Zacks Rank

Berkshire Hathaway carries a Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold).

Performance of Other Industry Players

The bottom line at The Travelers Companies, Inc. TRV missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while earnings of First American Financial FAF and RLI Corp. RLI beat the same.

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