Berkshire Hathaway Reports 18% Gain in Operating Profit, With Its Cash Pile at Record $149 Billion

The continued recovery of railroad, utilities and energy businesses has contributed to the double-digit increase.

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By Amanda Breen

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway saw an 18% gain in after-tax operating profit in the third quarter, up to $6.47 billion from $5.48 billion in the same quarter last year, CNBC reports.

The continuous recovery of railroad, utilities and energy businesses has contributed to the growth, and the company's cash pile sat at an all-time high of $149.2 billion in September, up from $144.1 billion in the second quarter, despite Berkshire's aggressive share buybacks.

In the third quarter, Berkshire bought back $7.6 billion of its own stock for a total of $20.2 billion in a nine-month period. Last year, the company purchased a record $24.7 billion of its own stock.

Operating earnings from Berkshire's railroad, utilities and energy segment increased 11% year over year to $3.03 billion in the third quarter.

Related: Want to Become a Millionaire? Follow Warren Buffett's 4 Rules.

"Beginning in the third quarter of 2020, many of our businesses experienced significantly higher sales and earnings relative to the second quarter, reflecting higher customer demand," the company said in the report. "The extent of the effects over longer terms cannot be reasonably estimated at this time."

Berkshire's overall earnings dropped to $10.3 billion in the third quarter, a more than 60% year-over-year decrease. Last quarter, the return from the company's equity investments totaled $3.8 billion compared to its $24.8 billion increase the year prior.

But Buffett advises investors not to be overly concerned with Berkshire's fluctuating returns from one quarter to the next, as the figures for net earnings per share can be misleading.

Related: How Do Your Eating Habits Compare to Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and Bill Gates? These Are the Billionaires' Favorite Foods to Snack On

Buffett, known as "the Oracle of Omaha," is one of the most successful investors of all time, with a net worth of more than $100 billion.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at She is a graduate of Barnard College and recently completed the MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

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