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Berkshire's Profit Windfall

Income at Warren Buffett's company more than quadruples.

Berkshire Hathaway


late Friday said that income in the third quarter rose by nearly five times on help from its Geico car insurance unit and a bounce-back from hurricane-related insurance claims.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the insurance and investment company posted a profit of $2.77 billion, or $1,797 a Class-A share, more than four times the $586 million, or $381 a share, in the year-ago period.

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Revenue at Berkshire, which is led by billionaire Warren Buffett, rose 24% to $25.36 billion from $20.53 billion, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding items, Berkshire reported a profit of $2.6 billion, or $1,687 a share, up from $189 million, or $123 a share, last year.

"Clearly, our insurance business has benefited in a major way from the absence of catastrophe losses," Berkshire Hathaway said. "This is due not to managerial brilliance but rather to good luck. Last year, conversely, we got clobbered by a spate of hurricanes, more of which we will surely see in the future."

Berkshire Class A shares closed the regular session up $894 at $105,000; Class B shares rose $28 to $3,501.

Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire, which generally withholds comment on quarterly earnings reports, previously estimated its losses to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma at $3.4 billion, with about $3 billion of those losses happening in last year's third quarter.