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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 on Saturday reported a record quarterly and annual profit for his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, thanks in part to a $29.1bn boost "delivered" by the Republican tax cut.

Behring also said the board looks forward to continuing its partnership with Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

So Berkshire held almost $116 billion in cash and short-term bonds at year end.

"Buffett has been quick to say that he thinks that the tax policy changes were going to help Berkshire and be positive overall", said Bill Smead, chief executive of Smead Capital Management in Seattle, a Berkshire shareholder. Over the past 53 years, Berkshire has grown its per-share book value at a 19.1% rate compounded annually.

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"A large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire", Buffett wrote.

Buffett and Charlie Munger's aversion to using leverage may have "dampened" their returns over the last 53 years, but the long-term focused investors don't seem all that bothered by it.

Berkshire said about $29.11bn of its net income was attributable to the reduction of the USA corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent. The character of each man matches his talents.

The biggest thing missing from the deals Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway reviewed previous year was one of the key qualities the billionaire looks for when buying a stand-alone company: "a sensible purchase price".

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He also explained a quirk of the bet: The stakes were originally placed in Treasury bonds, but Mr. Buffett and his opponents reinvested the money in Berkshire stocks after the bonds' yields fell. "Indeed, price seemed nearly irrelevant to an army of optimistic purchasers". That list included the likes of Apple Inc.

Berkshire manages its insurance business conservatively, so usually it avoids losses and instead turns a decent underwriting profit each year.

Last month, Buffett gave greater oversight of Berkshire's non-insurance businesses such as the BNSF railroad, Precision Castparts and Dairy Queen ice cream to the energy executive Gregory Abel, while the insurance specialist Ajit Jain added supervision of insurance operations such as the Geico auto insurer.

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