UPDATE: This article, originally published at 5:40 p.m. EDT Friday, May 1, has been updated throughout with information from a regulatory filing.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors making their annual trip to Nebraska on Friday for Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) annual meeting had set the first-quarter performance bar high for CEO Warren Buffett, and he delivered.
Earnings of $2,583 a share, excluding some items, topped the average estimate of $2,330 from analysts in a survey by Thomson Reuters as sales in the railroad and insurance businesses improved. Net income climbed 9.8% to $5.16 billion, or $3,143 a share, from $4.7 billion, or $2,862, a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company said in a statement. Revenue ticked up 4% to $50 billion.
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Earnings growth was led by the railroads, energy and utilities unit, where profit increased 25% to $1.5 billion. Burlington Northern, which Buffett acquired in 2010, saw earnings climb 44% to $1 billion as shipments of coal and agricultural products increased, according to a regulatory filing.
Overall, improvements to Burlington's equipment, expanded lines and new hiring helped drive gains in the quarter from a "substandard" performance in the first three months of 2014, Berkshire said in the filing.