In this blog, we have analyzed Berkshire quite a few times, especially as a stock that has been undervalued and as a good buy. Now, that the Berkshire faithful are getting ready to celebrate another annual meeting at the woodstock of capitalism in Omaha, Nebraska, the Q1 results are out. Let us go through some of the numbers.
Berkshire is a conglomerate with many old economy industries varying from candies to carpets and paint. It also does a significant portion of its business in insurance. Berkshire is run by the iconic figures Warren Buffett and his pal Charlie Munger.
Let us briefly look at the earnings in Q1. The total income after taxes in Q1 was 2.595 billion. This compares to earnings of 2.313 billion in 2006. The year over year increase is 12.19%. In the quarter, the cash flows from operating activities was 4.625 billion dollars compared to 2.359 billion dollars in 2006. 5.3 billion dollars worth of equity securities were purchased in the quarter. Despite the heavy buying, total cash on the balance sheet increased by 1.5 billion dollars.
The Equitas deal also closed in the quarter which added 7+ billion dollars of float to the balance sheet. Berkshire provides an additional 5 billion dollars of coverage expected to be paid out in the course of next forty years. The name of the game here is to make money on the float before the time comes to pay out. The pay out period is expected to be upto 40 years. The company also boosted the loss reserves to conservatively account for the deal.
In Q1, the revenues from operating businesses increased by 47% compared to Q1 of 2006. The earnings from operating businesses increased by 25% in one year. The increase in profits by operating subs with old line businesses would put the dot coms and internet companies to shame.
Given the rise in SP500 since April ( after the quarter close ) of about 5%, one can also expect Berkshire's equity position to also have improved in the same period by a similar or higher percentage. The book value for Berkshire is about 110 billion dollars at the end of Q1 and the overall market cap of the company is only 165 billion dollars. While Berkshire's value has increased, its stock price has dropped in the year. One can expect the stock price to rally at some point in the year.
My estimate of Berkshire's intrinsic value is 139,000 dollars/class A share. The stock is selling at a discount of 27% to its intrinsic value and looks like a good buy at current prices.