I have just finished reading Berkshire Hathaway’s 2015 10-K. The letter to shareholders by Warren Buffett (edited by Carol Loomis) is brilliant, as usual. I have written here about how these two “walk their talk” (Buffett and Munger), and this 51st letter to Berkshire shareholders is another fine example. The section on Productivity is mandatory reading, especially so for Brazilians.
As the date of the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting approaches, here are four news pieces and interesting generalities about Berkshire – including the purchase of the 20% of Iscar the company didn’t own, articles on Doug Bass, the bear who will get to ask tough, unscripted questions at the meeting and more.
The CEO of AIG’s Americas Property & Casualty area leaves and takes 3 other senior executives with him. The surprise is that they were hired by Berkshire Hathaway’s Ajit Jain to build a P&C unit there. Very interestingly, Mr. Eastwood mentions that in time he may seek opportunities for Berkshire outside the US. Now even more interesting for us Brazilians is that one of the executives that join Mr. Eastwood at Berkshire is Sanjay Godhwani, who was the P&C president for Latin America and the Caribbean. Hmmm…
Very interesting WSJ article for those interested in Brazilian infrastructure investments – my cup of tea of late. It doesn’t hurt that Burlington Northern is a Berkshire Hathaway company either…
Warren Buffett called him “the Babe Ruth of Insurance” and not just because of the turnaround at GEICO. This New York Times obituary on John Byrne is a nice read. While Buffett always says you should seek out businesses that are so good that an idiot can run it (because one will eventually), sometimes companies are blessed with great leaders as well.
Reading other sources after the meeting I found a few tidbits worth mentioning. H/T Century Partners. On Ted Weschler and Todd Combs, there’s more detail on their compensation (also repeated inside) in a WSJ.com story.
We are a few hours away from Berkshire Hathaway’s 2012 annual meeting, so here are related links – including the Q1 2012 earnings release and a 30-minute video interview with Charlie Munger. This is NOT a “live meeting notes”-type post, as I am not there (regrettably) and trust other sources to do a great job. I will still post updates of the most relevant discussions during the day.
After taking a two-week break, I return right when the Berkshire Hathaway weekend is fast approaching. I was going to attend the meeting – my fourth – but couldn’t, so during the weekend I’ll point our readers to the best 3rd-party sources out there. This year’s meeting is bound to be very interesting with questions on IBM, Ted Weschler and so on, but obviously the main issue will be succession. Buffett’s announcement that he has stage 1 prostate cancer is definitely in the news, but as in all things involving Berkshire & Buffett it gets blown out of proportion.
We dive a little deeper in Berkshire’s annual report. As we’ve argued before, it’s another chapter in a body of work that can be read strictly with an investing “hat” – or, more usefully, with many hats (business, corporate governance, communications, recruiting/incentives etc.). This one is interesting in many regards: succession, Berkshire’s strategy and goals, IBM, insurance float, share repurchases, the state of the US economy and more. We also link to the transcript of CNBC’s 3-hour special “Ask Warren”.