Berkshire Hathaway operating earnings rise

Fri May 4, 2012 5:28pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc, the insurance and investment company controlled by Warren Buffett, on Friday posted a 67 percent increase in operating profit, helped by improved performance in insurance underwriting and its non-insurance businesses.

First-quarter operating profit rose to $2.67 billion, or $1,615 per Class A share, from $1.59 billion, or $966 per share, a year earlier. Net income attributable to Berkshire shareholders more than doubled to $3.25 billion, or $1,966 per share, from $1.51 billion, or $917 per share, last year.

Berkshire posted a $54 million insurance underwriting profit in the quarter. That compared with a year-earlier $821 million loss, when results were hurt by costs for earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and floods and a cyclone in Australia.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Cathy Baron Tamraz, (C) president and chief executive officer of Business Wire, and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett (Center-Right) ring the opening bell with guests at the New York Stock Exchange September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid