We estimate that Berkshireâ€™s look-through earnings per share increased by a mid-teens percentage in 2013. Organic growth was modest for most of the businesses owned directly and indirectly by Berkshire, with much of the companyâ€™s growth attributable to solid returns from an active year in capital deployment and a reversal of losses from a life reinsurance policy with Swiss Re pursuant to a negotiated settlement.
During 2013, Berkshire contributed $12.3 billion to a buyout of Heinz, spent about $5.2 billion more than depreciation on capital improvements at the utility and railroad, shelled out $3.7 billion to purchase increased stakes in Marmon and Iscar, and acquired a $3.5 billion stake in Exxonâ€™s common shares. Approximately $1 billion was spent on a slew of smaller bolt-on acquisitions, including three made by Berkshireâ€™s building components business Mitek. Berkshire also announced three deals in 2013 that will close in 2014. It closed on a $1.1 billion purchase of a beverage dispensing and merchandising business from IMI on January 1st, 2014. Later in the first quarter, Berkshire subsidiary MidAmerican is expected to close on the $5.6 billion acquisition of a Nevada utility, and in the second quarter it will exchange $1.5 billion in shares it holds in Phillips 66 for one of Phillipsâ€™ subsidiaries, a pipeline flow improver business that will be managed by Berkshireâ€™s lubricants subsidiary Lubrizol. Continue Reading Â»