Rank: 24 (Previous rank: 19)
CEO: Warren E. Buffett
Address: 3555 Farnam St.
Omaha, Nebraska 68131
The Omaha, NE conglomerate headed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett ended 2011 decently enough but struggled to outperform the stock market.
Berkshire Hathaway reported that its book value per share rose by 4.7%, beating the total return of the S&P 500 index, which remained relatively flat, rising only 2.1%. The results were underwhelming, given that Buffett has long trumped his record of beating the market when the stock market languished. Berkshire saw earnings decline, mostly driven by its core insurance business as the division dealt with high catastrophic losses following earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan.
The company has continued to put its money to work. Berkshire completed a $9 billion deal to buy engine lubricant-maker Lubrizol Corp. The company also named hedge fund guru Ted Weschler as a second investment manager, joining Todd Combs, another former hedge-fund manager, as a candidate to take over Berkshire’s portfolio some day.
In April 2012, Buffett was diagnosed with stage-1 prostate cancer, flaring ongoing speculation regarding succession at the firm. The 81-year-old CEO has said his diagnosis “isn’t remotely life threatening. -- N.H.T.
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|Company||2011 Number of Employees|
|China National Petroleum||1,668,072|