Berkshire Hathaway shareholder events continue Sunday

Berkshire Hathaway shareholder events continue Sunday

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"If you are tied to coal, you've got problems", he told the annual shareholders meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway holding company in Omaha, Nebraska.

"I don't know that much about cyber, but I do think that's the number one problem with mankind".

"Medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness", Buffett said, as reported by the New York Times.

Buffett was joined by his longtime business partner, Charles Munger, who said both political parties - Republicans and Democrats - were facing great difficulty in thinking rationally about the issue at hand because they "hate each other so much". Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance launched two insurance policies that cover cyber liability and the costs incurred to respond to a data breach or threat.

Buffett has said Berkshire could have a new chief executive within 24 hours if he died or could not continue, and that nothing had changed just because he praised fewer managers than usual in his February shareholder letter.

And if Berkshire does decide to pay dividends, it would have to commit to maintaining that payout over time, Buffett said, as cutting it could have disastrous consequences for the company's share price. He also said rising health care costs, rather than high taxes, were the biggest drag on US businesses.

Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway and Bill Gates, billionaire and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.

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The annual meeting, expected to draw more than last year's estimated 37,000 shareholders, is the main event of a weekend of events that Buffett calls "Woodstock for Capitalists".

Had the new law been in effect, Buffett said his taxes would have gone down 17 percent a year ago.

They went through "a litany of trends they missed, mistakes they made", Wallman said. Still, Buffett said that layoffs were sometimes necessary to make companies more productive.

Buffett also used the meeting to criticise United States bank, Wells Fargo & Co for failing to stop employees from signing up customers for bogus accounts even after learning it was happening, causing a scandal which is still impacting the bank.

Despite the earnings shortfall, Buffett's preferred measure of growth for Berkshire, book value per Class A share, or assets minus liabilities, rose 3.5 percent in the quarter to $178,073.

"We need a money mind as CEO", said Buffett, who has no plans to retire.

"In retrospect, I think we were smart enough to figure out Google early, and we didn't", Munger said. "So they have gained a 5- or 6-point advantage", he said.

  • Kyle Warner