Berkshire Hathaway’s ‘Woodstock for Capitalists’ a.k.a annual general meeting (AGM) on May 1 will take place in Los Angeles instead of Omaha with the company’s Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who wasn’t a part of last year’s AGM, answering questions along with Warren Buffet, the widely-read annual letter by the Oracle of Omaha to the company’s shareholders said on Saturday. “I missed him last year and, more important, you clearly missed him,” said Buffett. The formal meeting will begin at 5:00 PM EDT (3:30 AM) and should finish by 5:30 PM, he added, while between 1:30-5:00, Buffett and Munger will answer questions. The company’s two vice-chairman, Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, will also answer questions. On Berkshire Hathaway’s website, annual letters since 1977 are archived and available to the public.
In the annual letter, Buffett in a reassuring tone to investors encouraged them to continue believing in the great American dream. He said, “In its brief 232 years of existence, however, there has been no incubator for unleashing human potential like America. Despite some severe interruptions, our country’s economic progress has been breathtaking…Our unwavering conclusion: Never bet against America.”
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To illustrate that, Buffett’s letter towards the end noted that Berkshire owns American-based property, plant and equipment – the sort of assets that make up the “business infrastructure” of our country. “Berkshire’s depreciated cost of these domestic “fixed assets” is $154 billion. Next in line on this list is AT&T, with property, plant and equipment of $127 billion,” Buffett added.
Berkshire earned $42.5 billion in 2020 including $21.9 billion of operating earnings, $4.9 billion of realized capital gains, $26.7 billion gain from an increase in the amount of net unrealized capital gains that exist in the stocks Berkshire hold, and $11 billion loss from a write-down in the value of a few subsidiary and affiliate businesses, the letter noted. This $11 billion write-down was almost entirely the “quantification of a mistake I made in 2016 “– the purchase of Precision Castparts (industrial goods and metal fabrication company) for which Buffett “paid too much.” Buffet added that Berkshire Hathaway had repurchased the equivalent of 80,998 “A” shares worth $24.7 billion in 2021.
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