With the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting occurring this week there will be a tremendous amount of publicity on the company. It is amazing to me how inexpensively the stock is trading given the excellent performance of the underlying businesses, and the opportunity to grow moving forward. Berkshire is poised to prosper as housing improves, and their true fortress balance sheet will allow them to be able to take advantage of any exiting opportunities that arise through market volatility. I’ll be very curious if he announces that he is increasing any investments in Europe, as we at T&T Capital Management are beginning to find some really extraordinary opportunities across the pond.
Berkshire’s valuation offers no “Buffett premium” but instead likely reflects a discount due to the fear of him stepping down due to age or illness. I have full confidence that Warren Buffett has put a tremendous amount of energy and though into the future of Berkshire, and while the loss of Buffett would be horrible on so many levels, I believe that Berkshire Hathaway will be just fine. With Berkshire trading at 1.2 times book value, it is very close to the 1.1 level where Buffett would buy back stock. This should really limit any downside, and I think there is easily 30-40% upside from these levels.