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Warren Buffett: Berkshire had a decent year in 2005

March 04, 2006

Warren Buffett released his shareholder letter today. " Berkshire had a decent year in 2005. We initiated five acquisitions (two of which have yet to close) and most of our operating subsidiaries prospered. Even our insurance business in its entirety did well, though Hurricane Katrina inflicted record losses on both Berkshire and the industry. We estimate our loss from Katrina at $2.5 billion – and her ugly sisters, Rita and Wilma, cost us an additional $.9 billion."

"My goal in writing this report is to give you the information you need to estimate Berkshire' s intrinsic value. I say "estimate" because calculations of intrinsic value, though all-important, are necessarily imprecise and often seriously wrong. The more uncertain the future of a business, the more possibility there is that the calculation will be wildly off-base. (For an explanation of intrinsic value, see pages 77 – 78.) Here Berkshire has some advantages: a wide variety of relatively-stable earnings streams, combined with great liquidity and minimum debt. These factors mean that Berkshire' s intrinsic value can be more precisely calculated than can the intrinsic value of most companies."

Read the complete report!

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