Our annual ranking of the world's largest corporations

24 of 500
24. Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway
Financials: Latest Results
Rank: 24 (Previous rank: 19)
CEO: Warren E. Buffett
Employees: 270,858
Address: 3555 Farnam St.
Omaha, Nebraska 68131
Country: U.S.
Website: www.berkshirehathaway.com

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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  $ millions % change from 2010
Revenues 143,688.0 5.5
Profits 10,254.0 -20.9
Assets 392,647.0 --
Stockholders' equity 164,850.0 --
Profits as % of  
Revenues 7.1
Assets 2.6115
From the July 23, 2012 issue
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Rank # of Global 500 Companies
U.S. 132
China 73
Japan 68
Company 2011 Number of Employees
Wal-Mart Stores 2,200,000
China National Petroleum 1,668,072
State Grid 1,583,000
Company 2011 Profits
($ millions)
Gazprom $44,459.6
Exxon Mobil $41,060
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China $32,214.1
FAQ and methodology
All companies on the list must publish financial data and report part or all of their figures to a government agency. In the U.S., private companies and cooperatives... More
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