Warren Buffett on Saturday signaled he plans to make more large acquisitions for Berkshire Hathaway Inc to expand his conglomerate, which posted a record profit in 2013 with the help of a recovering U.S. economy.
“America’s best days lie ahead,” Buffett, 83, said in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders.
“Charlie and I have always considered a ‘bet’ on ever-rising U.S. prosperity to be very close to a sure thing,” he added, referring to his 90-year-old vice chairman Charlie Munger. “Though we invest abroad as well, the mother lode of opportunity resides in America.”
The annual letter is widely read not just by Berkshire shareholders, but by investors and others looking for wisdom and guidance from the so-called Oracle of Omaha, the world’s fourth-richest person.
Buffett has run Berkshire since 1965, and the Omaha, Nebraska-based company now has more than 80 businesses in such areas as insurance, railroads, utilities and ice cream. It also owns more than $117.5 billion of stocks.
Buffett again signaled that he has no plans to leave his company soon, telling shareholders he intends in next year’s letter to review his first 50 years at Berkshire, and what the future may bring.
Full-year profit rose 31 per cent to $19.48 billion, or $11,850 per Class A share, while operating profit rose 20 percent to $15.14 billion, or $9,211 per share.
For the fourth quarter, net profit rose nearly 10 per cent to $4.99 billion, or $3,035 per share, and operating profit rose 34 per cent to $3.78 billion, or $2,297 per share.
Berkshire’s book value per share, Buffett’s preferred yardstick for measuring net worth, grew 18.2 per cent after taxes in 2013 to $134,973.
Despite that, the 2009-to-2013 period marked the first time since Buffett took over Berkshire that book value per share rose more slowly over five years than the Standard & Poor’s 500 including dividends on a pre-tax basis.
Berkshire’s per share net worth was up about 91 percent during that period, while the index gained about 128 per cent.
Net worth per share has nonetheless grown at 19.7 percent annual clip under Buffett since 1965, when it was a mere $19. The S&P 500 annual growth rate was just 9.8 percent.