Berkshire Hathaway Reports First-Quarter Operating Earnings of $7.02B

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway posts first-quarter operating earnings of $7.02 billion vs. $5.87 billion a year earlier.
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Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Report  (BRK.B) - Get Report, which has been run by billionaire investor Warren Buffett for 56 years, reported first-quarter operating earnings on Saturday of $7.02 billion vs. $5.87 billion a year earlier.

Berkshire Hathaway reported net earnings of $11.71 billion, or $7,638 a Class A share. Earnings were $5.09 a Class B share compared with a loss of $20.44 a share a year earlier.

Revenue in the quarter was $64.6 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting earnings of $2.53 a Class B share on revenue of $63.5 billion.

The company bought back about $6.6 billion of stock in the first quarter, down from $9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The company had $145.4 billion of cash on its balance sheet as of March 31, up from the fourth-quarter's cash pile of $138.3 billion.

The earnings preceded the company's annual meeting that will be taking place virtually Saturday in Los Angeles for a second year. Buffett will be joined by Berkshire's longtime vice chairman, 97-year-old Charlie Munger, at the meeting that begins at 1:30 p.m. ET. Buffett is 90.

Buffett has been resistant in addressing concerns about climate change and work force diversity, while many other companies have been complying with investors' requests.

Berkshire Hathaway has opposed two shareholder proposals that ask the board to publish annual reports on how it is addressing environmental and diversity issues, as well as corporate governance, according to The New York Times.

California Public Employees’ Retirement System is co-sponsoring a climate disclosure proposal. 

“I don’t believe in imposing my political opinions on the activities of our businesses,” Buffett once said at Berkshire’s 2018 annual meeting.

TheStreet's founder Jim Cramer was among those taking issue with that sentiment, stating earlier this month that the belief that business and politics don't mix is outdated.

"I think that people who work at companies no longer care about that dictum," he said. "You don't check your emotions at the door and you no longer check your views at the door."

In addition, Institutional Shareholder Services recommended withholding votes for members of the board’s compensation committee over what it said was ineffective oversight of how pay is linked to performance.

In February, Berkshire Hathaway reported posted fourth-quarter operating earnings of $5.02 billion, up 14% from a year earlier.