Trích dẫn Quan trọng nhất tù bức thư thường niên của Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet)
Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders was just released.
You can read the whole thing at BerkshireHathaway.com.
But it's long, and you're busy.
Here are the most important excerpts from the letter:
- "The per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock increased by 4.6% in 2011. Over the last 47 years (that is, since present management took over), book value has grown from $19 to $99,860, a rate of 19.8% compounded annually."
- "As 2011 started, Todd Combs joined us as an investment manager, and shortly after yearend Ted Weschler came aboard. Both of these men have outstanding investment skills and a deep commitment to Berkshire. Each will be handling a few billion dollars in 2012, but they have the brains, judgment and character to manage our entire portfolio when Charlie and I are no longer running Berkshire."
- "Your Board is equally enthusiastic about my successor as CEO, an individual to whom they have had a great deal of exposure and whose managerial and human qualities they admire."
- "In aggregate these businesses earned more than $9 billion pre-tax in 2011. Contrast that to seven years ago, when we owned only one of the five, MidAmerican, whose pre-tax earnings were $393 million."
- "Unless the economy weakens in 2012, each of our fabulous five [BNSF,
Iscar, Lubrizol, Marmon Group and MidAmerican Energy] should again set a record, with aggregate earnings comfortably topping $10 billion."
- "A few years back, I spent about $2 billion buying several bond issues of Energy Future Holdings, an electric utility operation serving portions of Texas. That was a mistake – a big mistake."
- "Last year, I told you that “a housing recovery will probably begin within a year or so.” I was dead wrong. We have five businesses whose results are significantly influenced by housing activity. The connection is direct at Clayton Homes, which is the largest producer of homes in the country, accounting for about 7% of those constructed during 2011."
- "That devastating supply/demand equation is now reversed: Every day we are creating more households than housing units. People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over. And while “doubling-up” may be the initial reaction of some during a recession, living with in-laws can quickly lose its allure."
- "Last September, we announced that Berkshire would repurchase its shares at a price of up to 110% of book value. We were in the market for only a few days – buying $67 million of stock – before the price advanced beyond our limit. Nonetheless, the general importance of share repurchases suggests I should focus for a bit on the subject."
- "One CEO who always stresses the price/value factor in repurchase decisions is Jamie Dimon at J.P. Morgan; I recommend that you read his annual letter."
- "Charlie and I have mixed emotions when Berkshire shares sell well below intrinsic value. We like making money for continuing shareholders, and there is no surer way to do that than by buying an asset – our own stock – that we know to be worth at least x for less than that – for .9x, .8x or even lower. (As one of our directors says, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, after the barrel has been drained and the fish have quit flopping.) Nevertheless, we don’t enjoy cashing out partners at a discount, even though our doing so may give the selling shareholders a slightly higher price than they would receive if our bid was absent."
- "This discussion of repurchases offers me the chance to address the irrational reaction of many investors to changes in stock prices. When Berkshire buys stock in a company that is repurchasing shares, we hope for two events: First, we have the normal hope that earnings of the business will increase at a good clip for a long time to come; and second, we also hope that the stock underperforms in the market for a long time as well. A corollary to this second point: “Talking our book” about a stock we own – were that to be effective – would actually be harmful to Berkshire, not helpful as commentators customarily assume."
- "From a standing start in 1985, Ajit [Jain] has created an insurance business with float of $34 billion and significant underwriting profits, a feat that no CEO of any other insurer has come close to matching. By these accomplishments, he has added a great many billions of dollars to the value of Berkshire. Charlie would gladly trade me for a second Ajit. Alas, there is none"
- "Measured by ton-miles, rail moves 42% of America’s inter-city freight, and BNSF moves more than any other railroad – about 37% of the industry total. A little math will tell you that about 15% of all inter-city ton-miles of freight in the U.S. is transported by BNSF. It is no exaggeration to characterize railroads as the circulatory system of our economy. Your railroad is the largest artery."
- "To fulfill its societal obligation, BNSF regularly invests far more than its depreciation charge, with the excess amounting to $1.8 billion in 2011. The three other major U.S. railroads are making similar outlays. Though many people decry our country’s inadequate infrastructure spending, that criticism cannot be levied against the railroad industry. It is pouring money – funds from the private sector – into the investment projects needed to provide better and more extensive service in the future. If railroads were not making these huge expenditures, our country’s publicly-financed highway system would face even greater congestion and maintenance problems than exist today."
- "Berkshire’s newer shareholders may be puzzled over our decision to hold on to my mistakes. After all, their earnings can never be consequential to Berkshire’s valuation, and problem companies require more managerial time than winners. Any management consultant or Wall Street advisor would look at our laggards and say “dump them.”
That won’t happen."
- "Please understand, however, that Charlie and I are neither masochists nor Pollyannas. If either of the failings we set forth in Rule 11 is present – if the business will likely be a cash drain over the longer term, or if labor strife is endemic – we will take prompt and decisive action. Such a situation has happened only a couple of times in our 47-year history, and none of the businesses we now own is in straits requiring us to consider disposing of it."
- "The steady and substantial comeback in the U.S. economy since mid-2009 is clear from the earnings shown at the front of this section. This compilation includes 54 of our companies. But one of these, Marmon, is itself the owner of 140 operations in eleven distinct business sectors. In short, when you look at Berkshire, you are looking across corporate America."
- "A few years ago NetJets was my number one worry: Its costs were far out of line with revenues, and cash was hemorrhaging. Without Berkshire’s support, NetJets would have gone broke. These problems are behind us, and Jordan [Hansell] is now delivering steady profits from a well-controlled and smoothly-running operation."
- '“Buy commodities, sell brands” has long been a formula for business success. It has produced enormous and sustained profits for Coca-Cola since 1886 and Wrigley since 1891. On a smaller scale, we have enjoyed good fortune with this approach at See’s Candy since we purchased it 40 years ago."
- "As is well-known, the U.S. went off the rails in its home-ownership and mortgage-lending policies, and for these mistakes our economy is now paying a huge price. All of us participated in the destructive behavior – government, lenders, borrowers, the media, rating agencies, you name it. At the core of the folly was the almost universal belief that the value of houses was certain to increase over time and that any dips would be inconsequential."
- "The banking industry is back on its feet, and Wells Fargo is prospering. Its earnings are strong, its assets solid and its capital at record levels. At Bank of America, some huge mistakes were made by prior management. Brian Moynihan has made excellent progress in cleaning these up, though the completion of that
process will take a number of years. Concurrently, he is nurturing a huge and attractive underlying business that will endure long after today’s problems are forgotten."
- "Todd Combs built a $1.75 billion portfolio (at cost) last year, and Ted Weschler will soon create one of similar size. Each of them receives 80% of his performance compensation from his own results and 20% from his partner’s. When our quarterly filings report relatively small holdings, these are not likely to be buys I made (though the media often overlook that point) but rather holdings denoting purchases by Todd or Ted."
- "There is little new to report on our derivatives positions, which we have described in detail in past reports. (Annual reports since 1977 are available at www.berkshirehathaway.com.) One important industry change, however, must be noted: Though our existing contracts have very minor collateral requirements, the rules have changed for new positions. Consequently, we will not be initiating any major derivatives positions. We shun contracts of any type that could require the instant posting of collateral."
- "Charlie and I continue to believe that our equity-put positions will produce a significant profit, considering both the $4.2 billion of float we will have held for more than fifteen years and the $222 million profit we’ve already realized on contracts that we repurchased. At yearend, Berkshire’s book value reflected a liability of $8.5 billion for the remaining contracts; if they had all come due at that time our payment would have been $6.2 billion."
- "Gold, however, has two significant shortcomings, being neither of much use nor procreative. True, gold has some industrial and decorative utility, but the demand for these purposes is both limited and incapable of soaking up new production. Meanwhile, if you own one ounce of gold for an eternity, you will still
own one ounce at its end."
- "Whether the currency a century from now is based on gold, seashells, shark teeth, or a piece of paper (as today), people will be willing to exchange a couple of minutes of their daily labor for a Coca-Cola or some See’s peanut brittle."