Here are the previous posts regarding Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway:
- Yet more hypocrisy coming from Warren Buffett
- When investors start worrying about Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
- Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway hits the wall of reality
- Losing My Integrity - Warren Buffet's Next Book?
- Warren Buffet's unhappy new year
(Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. posted its worst loss in at least two decades as the billionaire chairman worked to recover from a “major mistake” of buying ConocoPhillips shares with oil prices near their peak.
The first-quarter net loss of $1.53 billion, or $990 a share, compares with profit of $940 million, or $607, in the same period a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm said yesterday in a statement. Writedowns on derivatives tied to corporate-debt indexes cost the company about $1.3 billion and Berkshire took a $1.9 billion charge on oil producer ConocoPhillips, contributing to its first net loss since 2001.
Berkshire’s liability on derivatives at the finance and financial products operations widened to $15.4 billion as of March 31 from $14.6 billion three months earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The derivatives have weighed on Berkshire results for more than a year. Berkshire’s commitments, which cover possible losses on corporate debt, stock indexes and municipal bonds, prompted Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service to strip the firm of its top-level credit ratings this year.
Buffett told shareholders in his annual letter in February that the ConocoPhillips investment was a “major mistake.”
“I in no way anticipated the dramatic fall in energy prices that occurred,” said Buffett, writing that he still expects an increase over time. “But so far I have been dead wrong. Even if prices should rise, moreover, the terrible timing of my purchase has cost Berkshire several billion dollars.”
Berkshire, which posted five straight declines in quarterly profit through the end of 2008, last posted a loss in the three months ended Sept. 30, 2001, on claims tied to terrorist attacks. It was the only other quarterly loss since 1986, according to data provided by Standard & Poor’s.