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Berkshire nine-month profits up 119%


OMAHA, Neb.--Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported a 118.7% increase in net income for the nine months ended Sept. 30, to $7.43 billion.

After investment gains are discounted, Berkshire reported a 161.9% increase in operating earnings, to $6.79 billion. For the quarter, net income increased 373%, to $2.77 billion, while operating income increased 1,276.7%, to $2.6 billion.

"Clearly these are highly satisfactory" earnings, Berkshire said in a statement. "Just as clearly, our insurance business has benefited in a major way from the absence of catastrophe losses.

"This is due not to managerial brilliance but rather to good luck. Last year, conversely, we got clobbered by a spate of hurricanes, more of which we will surely see in the future."

The comment continues: "The property/casualty insurance industry is having an outstanding year, and GEICO is leading the pack with growth far above its peers.

"Here again, caution makes sense. The industry's profitability is sure to decline next year--substantially in all probability--and Berkshire's insurers will not be immune form industry trends. We do expect, however, that insurance results will usually outpace those of the industry and that our long-term advantage could be significant."