said Saturday it posted a $29 billion gain in 2017 related to changes in U.S. tax law, a boost that inflated annual profits for the Omaha conglomerate.
In a letter to shareholders also released Saturday, Berkshire Chairman
lamented the lack of well-priced acquisition opportunities and reiterated his advice that individuals should avoid debt and invest passively.
Recent changes to the tax law lowered Berkshire’s deferred tax obligations for stock investments that it currently holds. Berkshire’s net earnings rose to $44.94 billion in 2017 from $24.07 billion the prior year.
Berkshire’s operating earnings fell 24% in the fourth quarter, hurt by losses in the company’s insurance operations.
The company’s book value per share rose 23% in 2017, the company said, compared with a 22% total return in the S&P 500, including dividends.
Berkshire’s mounting cash pile, which is mostly invested in Treasury bills, grew to $116 billion at year-end.
“Prices for decent, but far from spectacular, Businesses hit an all-time high” in 2017, preventing Berkshire from spending more cash on acquisitions, Mr. Buffett said in his annual letter. “Our smiles will broaden when we have redeployed Berkshire’s excess funds into more productive assets.”
Write to Nicole Friedman at [email protected]
Source : WSJ