Upbeat Buffett eyes big acquisitions after record Berkshire profit

Sat Mar 1, 2014 12:13pm EST
 
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By Luciana Lopez and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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.

RECORD PROFIT

Full-year profit rose 31 percent 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.   Continued...

 
Warren Buffett, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, poses for a portrait in New York October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri