Berkshire Hathaway operating earnings soar 39% as Buffett’s cash hoard swells to record $188 billion


Warren Buffett breaks down Berkshire's most recent quarter during annual meeting

Berkshire Hathaway reported Saturday a huge year-over-year increase in operating earnings in the first quarter, while its cash holdings bubbled to record levels.

The Warren Buffett-led conglomerate posted an operating profit — which encompasses earnings from the company’s wholly owned businesses — that surged 39% to $11.22 billion from the year-earlier period.

That gain was led by a 185% year-on-year increase in insurance underwriting earnings to $2.598 billion from just $911 million. Geico earnings swelled 174% to $1.928 billion from $703 million a year prior. Insurance investment income also swelled 32% to more than $2.5 billion.

Warren Buffett walks the floor ahead of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on May 3, 2024. 

David A. Grogen | CNBC

Berkshire’s railroad business raked in $1.14 billion in profit, down slightly from the first quarter of 2023. Its energy division saw earnings nearly double to $717 million from $416 million a year prior.

First-quarter net earnings, which include fluctuations from Berkshires stock investments, fell 64% to $12.7 billion. Buffett calls these unrealized investing gains (or losses) each quarter meaningless and misleading, but the unique conglomerate is required to report these numbers based on generally accepted accounting principles.

Record cash hoard

More from Berkshire Hathaway’s Annual Meeting


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