Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States, that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. The company wholly owns GEICO, BNSF, Lubrizol, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds and NetJets, owns half of Heinz and an undisclosed percentage of Mars, Incorporated and has significant minority holdings in American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Wells Fargo, and IBM. Berkshire Hathaway averaged an annual growth in book value of 19.7% to its shareholders for the last 48 years (compared to 9.4% from S&P 500 with dividends included for the same period), while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.
The company is known for its control by investor Warren Buffett, who is the company's chairman, president and CEO, and Charlie Munger, the company's vice-chairman. Buffett has used the "float" provided by Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations (paid premiums which are not held in reserves for reported claims and may be invested) to finance his investments. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, he focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including confectionery, retail, railroad, home furnishings, encyclopaedias, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, jewellery sales; newspaper publishing; manufacture and distribution of uniforms; as well as several regional electric and gas utilities.
According to the Forbes Global 2000 list and formula, Berkshire Hathaway is the ninth largest public company in the world.
Finance and financial products
Berkshire acquired Clayton Homes a maker of modular homes, storage trailers, chassis, intermodal piggyback trailers and domestic containers.
Clayton's finance business, (loans to manufactured home owners), earned $206 million down from $526 million in 2007. Loan losses remain 3.6% up from 2.9%.
Equities – beneficial ownership
Berkshire's fifteen largest stock investments by market value, as reported in the 2013 annual report. are, in alphabetical order:
- American Express Co. (14.2%)
- The Coca-Cola Company (9.1%)
- DIRECTV (4.2%)
- Exxon Mobile Corp. (0.9%)
- Goldman Sachs (2.8%)
- IBM (6.3%)
- Moody's Corporation, owner of Moody's Analytics (11.5%)
- Munich Re (11.2%)
- Phillips 66 (3.4%)
- The Procter & Gamble Company (1.9%)
- Sanofi (1.7%)
- Tesco plc (3.7%)
- U.S. Bancorp (5.3%)
- Wal-Mart (1.8%)
- Wells Fargo (9.2%)
As of 2008, Berkshire owns $27 billion in fixed income securities, mainly foreign government bonds and corporate bonds.
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