Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on Saturday posted a record net loss of almost $50 billion as the coronavirus pandemic pummeled its common stock investments, but operating profit rose even as COVID-19 hurt its businesses.
Warren Buffett said on Saturday gave an upbeat assessment of the United States' ability to withstand crises, even as he acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic could have a wide range of impacts on the economy.
Buffett said Berkshire had made the mistake of investing around $7 billion (£5.5bn) or $8 billion (£6.3bn) acquiring stakes in the four airlines. But now he's cut those investments again.
"I am the one who made the decision".
5️⃣ Buffett may be a billionaire, but he's also a schlub like the rest of us.
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Over more than 4-1/2 hours at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Buffett said his conglomerate has taken many steps responding to the pandemic, including providing cash to struggling operating units, and throwing in the towel on a multi-billion-dollar bet on us airlines.
"It is basically that we shut off air travel in this country", he said. Frontier Airlines will follow suit on 8 May.
Delta Air Lines added it remains "confident that the strengths that are core to Delta's business - our people, our brand, our network and our operational reliability - will endure and position Delta to succeed".
The net lost totaled 49.75 billion dollars in the first quarter, or 30,653 dollars per Class A share and 20.44 dollars per Class B share, compared with a net earning of 21.66 billion dollars a year ago, Berkshire said in a news release. His fortune of US$72 billion is the fourth-largest in the world, according to Forbes, and in normal years, the company's annual gathering in Omaha is the highpoint of investors' calendar: a "Woodstock for capitalists".
Berkshire Hathaway is sitting on a pile of more than $137bn of cash because Mr Buffett has struggled to find major acquisitions at suitable valuations recently.