UPDATE 2-Warren Buffett defends 3G, touts economy in record year for Berkshire
(Recasts, adds details on discussion of economy, Berkshire book value, 3G dealmaking)
By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan
Feb 27 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday used his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders to launch vigorous defenses of an aggressive private equity partner and a maligned mobile home unit, as his conglomerate recorded robust profits.
The world's third-richest person and a revered investor, Buffett also injected himself into the contentious 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, lambasting candidates who talk down the nation's economic future as "dead wrong" - an apparent jab at Republicans and frontrunner Donald Trump.
Buffett, who is backing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, also raised a political issue dear to Democrats in his widely-read letter by calling climate change a "major problem for the planet," although not one for Berkshire's future.
Buffett, 85, also made no mention of who might succeed him at Berkshire, which he has run for a half-century, and in passing said he expects to be around at age 100.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company reported a record full-year profit of $24.08 billion, up 21 percent, while operating profit rose 5 percent to a record $17.36 billion.
Fourth quarter profit was up 32 percent, and operating profit rose a larger-than-expected 18 percent.
Berkshire owns roughly 90 businesses in areas as insurance, railroads, energy, food, apparel and real estate. Buffett himself is worth $62.1 billion, Forbes magazine reported. Continued...