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11/14/2012

BNSF continues to be a profit leader for Berkshire Hathaway

Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway continues to be a top performer for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

BNSF’s net earnings in the third quarter totaled $937 million, up 22 percent from the same period in 2011, according to the Omaha-Neb.-based company’s 10-Q report filed with the SEC on Nov. 2.

Revenue increased by 8 percent, to $5.3 billion, as shipped volume of industrial products, including shale oil, soared by 14 percent.

For the first nine months, BNSF earned $2.44 billion, amounting to about a quarter of Berkshire’s profits and nearly as much as the conglomerate took in from investment income on its core insurance business.

No wonder Buffett has been singing BNSF’s praises ever since he bought the railroad in 2010.

On another Fort Worth note, “bolt-on” acquisitions helped electronics distributor TTI boost revenues for the Berkshire group that encompasses service businesses. But the filing noted that “TTI’s earnings for the first nine months of 2012 declined 16 percent versus 2011 due primarily to weaker customer demand and intensifying price competition over the past year.”

Overall at Berkshire, which owns about 80 companies, third-quarter net earnings grew by 62 percent to $4.05 billion.

— Steve Kaskovich  

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