With $116 billion cash, Warren Buffett says Berkshire needs 'huge acquisitions'

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett talks with a shareholder before the company's annual meeting in Omaha

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett talks with a shareholder before the company's annual meeting in Omaha

Warren Buffett wrote that his multinational conglomerate could report $65.3 billion in gains of its net worth for the year.

That means the overall gain from the company's 1964 initial public offering to the end of past year would have shown a per-share increase in market value of 2,404,748 percent, according to the letter, compare to the broader market's gains of 15,508 percent during that time, when including dividends.

The new law lowered the tax rate paid by USA companies from 35 percent to 21 percent, allowing many to undertake major new outlays and others to book significant fiscal gains.

Behring also said the board looks forward to continuing its partnership with Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Buffett admitted that finding things to buy at a "sensible purchase price" has become a challenge, and is a major reason Berkshire is awash with $116 billion of low-yielding cash and government bonds.

He also spent much of the letter explaining Berkshire's results for 2017, which were aided by a huge gain on the recent United States tax overhaul.

Warren Buffett published his annual letter on Saturday, and it came with some of the usual trimmings: sage advice and reflections on the past year's success. But only $36bn came from Berkshire's operations. "Indeed, price nearly seemed relevant to an army of optimistic purchasers", wrote Buffett.

At the end of his letter Buffett reiterated that Berkshire will be in good hands after his eventual departure.

"That. requirement proved a barrier to virtually all deals we reviewed in 2017, as prices for decent, but far from spectacular, businesses hit an all-time high", Buffett wrote.

"If Wall Street analysts or board members urge that brand of CEO to consider possible acquisitions, it's a bit like telling your ripening teenager to be sure to have a normal sex life", he wrote. Insurance float at December 31, 2017 was approximately $114 billion. Equity holdings include Apple, Wells Fargo and Coca-Cola. That compares with $548 million gain the previous year. Those storms are a significant part of why Berkshire's insurance underwriting recorded a loss in 2017 after 14-straight years of underwriting profits.

Buffett says using borrowed cash to buy stocks, or "buying on margin", is a no-no for individual investors.

Warren Buffett's letter to shareholders released Saturday showed the final scorecard of his 10-year bet against hedge funds.

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