Buffett's firm reports 30 pct drop in 4Q earnings

Berkshire Hathaway says 4Q net income down 30 percent as paper value of derivatives drops

Associated Press

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) -- Berkshire Hathaway says its fourth-quarter net income fell 30 percent as the paper value of its derivative contracts fell, but most of its subsidiaries performed well.

Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett detailed the company's 2011 performance Saturday in his annual letter to shareholders.

Berkshire reported fourth-quarter net income of $3.05 billion, or $1,846 per Class A share. That's down from $4.4 billion net income, or $2,656 per share, a year ago.

Berkshire's profit fell short of the $1,875 per share that the four analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting.

The biggest difference was the change in estimated value of Berkshire's investments and derivative contracts. That fell to $382 million this year from last year's $1.4 billion.

Berkshire's quarterly revenue grew 5 percent to $37.96 billion from last year's $36.17 billion.

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