Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Led by famed value investor Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway's success has been built on the firm's record of acquiring and managing a portfolio of businesses with enduring competitive advantages.
Whether through direct ownership of individual companies or via significant shareholdings, Buffett has typically looked to acquire firms that have consistent earnings power, generate above average returns on capital, have little to no debt, and have solid management teams. Once purchased, these businesses tend to remain in Berkshire's portfolio, with sales seldom occurring.
In the early part of his career at Berkshire, Buffett focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including confectionery, retail, railroad, home furnishings, jewellery sales, newspaper publishing, and several regional electric and gas utilities. Some of the brands that Berkshire has investments in include: IBM, Heinz, Kraft Foods, American Express, and Wells Fargo.
Berkshire Hathaway averaged annual growth in book value of 19.4% for its shareholders from 1965 to 2014 (compared to 9.9% for the S&P 500 with dividends included for the same period), while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt.*
According to the 2015 Forbes Global List, Berkshire Hathaway is the fifth largest public company in the world (by market value).
Next month: Worldwide Healthcare Trust Plc.