Warren Buffett's Letters
To Berkshire Shareholders 1977

巴菲特致股東函
1977年版

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.
波克夏海瑟崴股份有限公司

To the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.:

致Berkshire公司全體股東:

Operating earnings in 1977 of $21,904,000, or $22.54 per share, were
moderately better than anticipated a year ago. Of these earnings, $1.43 per
share resulted from substantial realized capital gains by Blue Chip Stamps
which, to the extent of our proportional interest in that company, are
included in our operating earnings figure. Capital gains or losses realized
directly by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. or its insurance subsidiaries are not
included in our calculation of operating earnings. While too much attention
should not be paid to the figure for any single year, over the longer term the
record regarding aggregate capital gains or losses obviously is of
significance.

1977年本公司的營業淨利為2,190萬美元,每股約當22.54美元,表現較年前的預期
稍微好一點,在這些盈餘中,每股有1.43美元的盈餘,係藍籌郵票大量實現的資本利
得,本公司依照投資比例認列投資收益所貢獻,至於Berkshire本身及其保險子公司
已實現的資本利得或損失,則不列入營業利益計算,建議大家不必太在意單一期間的
盈餘數字,因為長期累積的資本利得或損失才是真正的重點所在。

Textile operations came in well below forecast, while the results of the
Illinois National Bank as well as the operating earnings attributable to our
equity interest in Blue Chip Stamps were about as anticipated. However,
insurance operations, led again by the truly outstanding results of Phil
Liesche’s managerial group at National Indemnity Company, were even better
than our optimistic expectations.

紡織事業的表現遠低於預估,至於伊利諾國家銀行的成績以及藍籌郵票貢獻給我們的
投資利益則大致如預期,另外,由Phil Liesche領導的國家產險保險業務的表現甚至
比我們當初最樂觀的期望還要好。

Most companies define “record” earnings as a new high in earnings per
share. Since businesses customarily add from year to year to their equity
base, we find nothing particularly noteworthy in a management performance
combining, say, a 10% increase in equity capital and a 5% increase in earnings
per share. After all, even a totally dormant savings account will produce
steadily rising interest earnings each year because of compounding.

通常公司會宣稱每股盈餘又創下歷史新高,然而由於公司的資本會隨著盈餘的累積擴
增,所以我們並不認為這樣的經營表現有什麼大不了的,比如說每年股本擴充10%或
是每股盈餘成長5%等等,畢竟就算是靜止不動的定存帳戶,由於複利的關係每年都
可穩定地產生同樣的效果。

Except for special cases (for example, companies with unusual debt-
equity ratios or those with important assets carried at unrealistic balance
sheet values), we believe a more appropriate measure of managerial
economic performance to be return on equity capital. In 1977 our operating
earnings on beginning equity capital amounted to 19%, slightly better than
last year and above both our own long-term average and that of American
industry in aggregate. But, while our operating earnings per share were up
37% from the year before, our beginning capital was up 24%, making the gain
in earnings per share considerably less impressive than it might appear at
first glance.

除非是特殊的情況(比如說負債比例特別高或是帳上持有重大資產未予重估),否則我
們認為「股東權益報酬率」應該是衡量管理當局表現比較合理的指標,1997年我們期
初股東權益的報酬率約為19%,這比去年同期稍微好一點,但遠高於本身過去長期以
及當年美國企業整體的平均數,所以雖然我們每股的盈餘成長了37%,但由於期初的
資本也增加了34%,這使得我們實際的表現並沒有想像中那麼好。

We expect difficulty in matching our 1977 rate of return during the
forthcoming year. Beginning equity capital is up 23% from a year ago, and
we expect the trend of insurance underwriting profit margins to turn down
well before the end of the year. Nevertheless, we expect a reasonably good
year and our present estimate, subject to the usual caveats regarding the
frailties of forecasts, is that operating earnings will improve somewhat on a
per share basis during 1978.

我們預期未來年度將很難再達到1977年這樣的報酬率水準,一方面是因為期初資本
又增加了23%,一方面我們預期保險核保利潤率會在年底以前開始反轉,盡管如此,
大家還是可以期待豐收的一年,而我們現在的估計是,雖然預測有其先天上的限制,
我認為每股營業利益在1978年應該還有些許成長的空間。

Textile Operations

紡織事業

The textile business again had a very poor year in 1977. We have
mistakenly predicted better results in each of the last two years. This may
say something about our forecasting abilities, the nature of the textile
industry, or both. Despite strenuous efforts, problems in marketing and
manufacturing have persisted. Many difficulties experienced in the
marketing area are due primarily to industry conditions, but some of the
problems have been of our own making.

1977年紡織事業的表現依舊低迷不振,過去兩年我們樂觀的預期紛紛落空,這或許也
說明了我們預測能力的薄弱,或是紡織產業的本質,盡管一再地努力與掙扎,行銷與
製造的問題依舊存在,雖然市場上面臨的困境與產業情勢相關,但也有不少問題是我
們自己造成。

A few shareholders have questioned the wisdom of remaining in the
textile business which, over the longer term, is unlikely to produce returns on
capital comparable to those available in many other businesses. Our
reasons are several: (1) Our mills in both New Bedford and Manchester are
among the largest employers in each town, utilizing a labor force of high
average age possessing relatively non-transferable skills. Our workers and
unions have exhibited unusual understanding and effort in cooperating with
management to achieve a cost structure and product mix which might allow
us to maintain a viable operation. (2) Management also has been energetic
and straightforward in its approach to our textile problems. In particular,
Ken Chace’s efforts after the change in corporate control took place in 1965
generated capital from the textile division needed to finance the acquisition
and expansion of our profitable insurance operation. (3) With hard work
and some imagination regarding manufacturing and marketing
configurations, it seems reasonable that at least modest profits in the textile
division can be achieved in the future.

部份股東開始質疑我們是否應該繼續留在紡織產業,雖然就長期而言其投資報酬率明
顯低於其他的投資,但我們的理由有以下幾個:(1)我們在紐貝福及Manchester的工
廠都是當地最大的聘雇業者,員工的年齡偏高,缺乏轉換工作的能力,同時我們的員
工及其公會也已經盡其所能地與經營階層配合努力改善成本結構及產品組合,以使我
們的經營得以維持下去(2)管理階層也相當努力同時坦承面對產業的問題,尤其是在
1965年經營權易主後,Ken Chace依然盡力盡力地協助我們把紡織部門產生穩定的
資金流入轉到獲利更加的保險事業投資與購併之上(3)努力工作加上對製造與行銷組
合的樂觀預期,我們的紡織事業在未來看起來應該可以維持一個起碼的利潤空間。

Insurance Underwriting

保險事業

Our insurance operation continued to grow significantly in 1977. It
was early in 1967 that we made our entry into this industry through the
purchase of National Indemnity Company and National Fire and Marine
Insurance Company (sister companies) for approximately $8.6 million. In
that year their premium volume amounted to $22 million. In 1977 our
aggregate insurance premium volume was $151 million. No additional
shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock have been issued to achieve any of this
growth.

我們的保險事業在1977年持續大幅地成長,早在1967年我們以860萬美元購併國
家產險及國家海上火險公司(兩者為姊妹公司)的方式進軍保險業,當年他們的保費收
入大約為2,200萬美元,時至今日,1977年的累積年保費收入已達1.51億美元,必
須強調的是,在此期間,Berkshire沒有再發行過任何一股新股以支應成長。

Rather, this almost 600% increase has been achieved through large
gains in National Indemnity’s traditional liability areas plus the starting of
new companies (Cornhusker Casualty Company in 1970, Lakeland Fire and
Casualty Company in 1971, Texas United Insurance Company in 1972, The
Insurance Company of Iowa in 1973, and Kansas Fire and Casualty Company
in late 1977), the purchase for cash of other insurance companies (Home and
Automobile Insurance Company in 1971, Kerkling Reinsurance Corporation,
now named Central Fire and Casualty Company, in 1976, and Cypress
Insurance Company at yearend 1977), and finally through the marketing of
additional products, most significantly reinsurance, within the National
Indemnity Company corporate structure.

相反地,這600%的成長幾乎都是來自於國家產險本身的傳統業務的穩定成長再加上
新創立的公司(包含1970年的Cornhusker產險、1971年的Lakeland火險、1972年
的德州聯合保險、1973年的愛荷華保險及1977年的堪薩斯火險公司等),以購併方式
買下的(1971年的家庭與汽車保險、1976年現已更名為中央火險的Kerkling再保險以
及1977年的賽普路斯保險公司),以及最後透過行銷新業務-主要以國家保險名下進行
的再保險業務所得。

In aggregate, the insurance business has worked out very well. But it
hasn’t been a one-way street. Some major mistakes have been made during
the decade, both in products and personnel. We experienced significant
problems from (1) a surety operation initiated in 1969, (2) the 1973
expansion of Home and Automobile’s urban auto marketing into the Miami,
Florida area, (3) a still unresolved aviation “fronting” arrangement, and (4)
our Worker’s Compensation operation in California, which we believe retains
an interesting potential upon completion of a reorganization now in
progress. It is comforting to be in a business where some mistakes can be
made and yet a quite satisfactory overall performance can be achieved. In a
sense, this is the opposite case from our textile business where even very
good management probably can average only modest results. One of the
lessons your management has learned - and, unfortunately, sometimes re-
learned - is the importance of being in businesses where tailwinds prevail
rather than headwinds.

總的來說,保險事業的表現還算不錯,但情況並非全然如此,過去十年來,我們也犯
過一些大錯,不論是在產品或是人員方面,比如說我們在以下方面就曾遇到重大的困
難:(1)1969年推出的保證責任險(2)1973年擴充佛羅里達邁阿密地區的家庭及汽車保
險業務(3)目前尚未解決的航空”前置”安排(4)我們在加州的勞工退休金業務,我們相信
這業務一旦改組完成應該還是相當有潛力。保險這行業雖然小錯不斷,但大致上還是
可以獲得不錯的成果,就某些方面而言,這情況與紡織業剛好完全相反,管理階層相
當優秀,但卻只能獲得微薄的利潤,各位的管理階層所學到的一課,很不幸一再學到
的就是,選擇順風而非逆風產業環境的重要性。

In 1977 the winds in insurance underwriting were squarely behind us.
Very large rate increases were effected throughout the industry in 1976 to
offset the disastrous underwriting results of 1974 and 1975. But, because
insurance policies typically are written for one-year periods, with pricing
mistakes capable of correction only upon renewal, it was 1977 before the full
impact was felt upon earnings of those earlier rate increases.

1977年保險業核保的順風不斷地從後方吹來,保費大幅度的調整在1976年正式生效
後,適時地抵消1974年及1975年慘痛的核保記錄,而由於保單的簽訂通常以一年為
期,所以定價的修正通常必須等到換新約時,所以實際上費率的上漲一直等到1977
年才充分反應在盈餘之上。

The pendulum now is beginning to swing the other way. We estimate
that costs involved in the insurance areas in which we operate rise at close to
1% per month. This is due to continuous monetary inflation affecting the
cost of repairing humans and property, as well as “social inflation”, a
broadening definition by society and juries of what is covered by insurance
policies. Unless rates rise at a comparable 1% per month, underwriting
profits must shrink. Recently the pace of rate increases has slowed
dramatically, and it is our expectation that underwriting margins generally
will be declining by the second half of the year.

可惜的是鐘擺再度開始擺盪到另一方向,我們預估保險理賠成本以每個月1%的幅度
增加,主要的原因除了持續性的通貨膨脹使得修復人體及財產的成本不停上漲,另一
方面社會通膨,亦即社會及陪審團對於保單理賠範圍不斷擴大解釋的傾向,因此除非
費率每個月也能同步上漲1%,否則核保利益肯定會縮水,只是最近保費調漲的速度
明顯趨緩,所以我們預期下半年的核保利潤空間將大幅縮減。

We must again give credit to Phil Liesche, greatly assisted by Roland
Miller in Underwriting and Bill Lyons in Claims, for an extraordinary
underwriting achievement in National Indemnity’s traditional auto and
general liability business during 1977. Large volume gains have been
accompanied by excellent underwriting margins following contraction or
withdrawal by many competitors in the wake of the 1974-75 crisis period.
These conditions will reverse before long. In the meantime, National
Indemnity’s underwriting profitability has increased dramatically and, in
addition, large sums have been made available for investment. As markets
loosen and rates become inadequate, we again will face the challenge of
philosophically accepting reduced volume. Unusual managerial discipline
will be required, as it runs counter to normal institutional behavior to let the
other fellow take away business - even at foolish prices.

講到這裡,我們必須再度將殊榮歸予Phil Liesche,在核保部門Roland Miller以及理
賠部門Bill Lyons的大力協助下,國家產險1977年在傳統的汽車及責任險業務方面又
大放異彩,保費收入不但大幅成長,相較於其他同業不堪1974-75年的危機陸續退出
市場,其優異的核保利益更屬難得,國家產險的核保利益大幅地成長,此外可供投資
的資金亦迅速累積,只可惜這樣的情況維持不了多久,這些業者又會再度捲土重來,
隨著市場緊繃情勢轉為寬鬆,費率又將變得失控,屆時我們又必須回復過去冷靜地接
受保費收入銳減的考驗,嚴格的核保紀律絕對必須維持,如此我們才能抗拒直覺,眼
睜睜地看著其他業者以瘋狂的價格搶走生意。

Our reinsurance department, managed by George Young, improved its
underwriting performance during 1977. Although the combined ratio (see
definition on page 12) of 107.1 was unsatisfactory, its trend was downward
throughout the year. In addition, reinsurance generates unusually high
funds for investment as a percentage of premium volume.

1977年由George Young管理的再保險部門改善了其核保的績效,雖然高達107.1
的綜合比率不算理想(相關定義請參閱第12頁),但至少趨勢是向下,此外再保險的保
費收入依然貢獻大量的資金以供我們進行投資。

At Home and Auto, John Seward continued to make progress on all
fronts. John was a battlefield promotion several years ago when Home and
Auto’s underwriting was awash in red ink and the company faced possible
extinction. Under his management it currently is sound, profitable, and
growing.

至於John Seward領導的家庭與汽車保險在各個方面都有重大進展,幾年前當該公司
因核保大幅虧損,面臨倒閉危機時,John跳上火線,在他的管理之下,公司的營運漸
上軌道。

John Ringwalt’s homestate operation now consists of five companies,
with Kansas Fire and Casualty Company becoming operational late in 1977
under the direction of Floyd Taylor. The homestate companies had net
premium volume of $23 million, up from $5.5 million just three years ago.
All four companies that operated throughout the year achieved combined
ratios below 100, with Cornhusker Casualty Company, at 93.8, the leader.
In addition to actively supervising the other four homestate operations, John
Ringwalt manages the operations of Cornhusker which has recorded
combined ratios below 100 in six of its seven full years of existence and,
from a standing start in 1970, has grown to be one of the leading insurance
companies operating in Nebraska utilizing the conventional independent
agency system. Lakeland Fire and Casualty Company, managed by Jim
Stodolka, was the winner of the Chairman’s Cup in 1977 for achieving the
lowest loss ratio among the homestate companies. All in all, the homestate
operation continues to make excellent progress.

John Ringwalt負責的Homestate業務旗下主要包含五家公司,其中堪薩斯火險在
Floyd Taylor籌備下於1977年底正式營運,Homestate 1977年的保費淨收入達到
2,300萬美元,三年前不過只有550萬美元,其餘四家的年度綜合比率都低於100,
其中Cornhusker甚至只有93.8,John在努力管理其他四家公司的同時,更讓
Cornhusker過去七年有六年的綜合比率低於100,從1970年正式營運以來,該公司
已順利成為內布拉斯加州傳統獨立經紀系統的領導業者,至於由Jim Stodolka帶領的
Lakeland火險則榮獲1977年主席杯的頭銜,因為去年該公司的綜合比率最低,總的
來說,Homestate集團的營運在去年大有進展。

The newest addition to our insurance group is Cypress Insurance
Company of South Pasadena, California. This Worker’s Compensation
insurer was purchased for cash in the final days of 1977 and, therefore, its
approximate $12.5 million of volume for that year was not included in our
results. Cypress and National Indemnity’s present California Worker’s
Compensation operation will not be combined, but will operate
independently utilizing somewhat different marketing strategies. Milt
Thornton, President of Cypress since 1968, runs a first-class operation for
policyholders, agents, employees and owners alike. We look forward to
working with him.

我們旗下保險事業最新加入的成員是位於加州的賽普路斯保險,至於勞工退休金保險
則因為是在1977年底以現金買下,所以其1,250萬美元的保費收入並未列入我們當
年的營運記錄,賽普路斯與國家產險現有的勞工退休金保險業務不會合併,而會採用
不同的行銷策略各自獨立經營,賽普路斯現任總裁Milt Thornton,在保戶、業務員、
員工及股東方面的營運管理皆屬一流,對於能與他一起共事,我們相當期待。

Insurance companies offer standardized policies which can be copied by
anyone. Their only products are promises. It is not difficult to be licensed,
and rates are an open book. There are no important advantages from
trademarks, patents, location, corporate longevity, raw material sources,
etc., and very little consumer differentiation to produce insulation from
competition. It is commonplace, in corporate annual reports, to stress the
difference that people make. Sometimes this is true and sometimes it isn’t.
But there is no question that the nature of the insurance business magnifies
the effect which individual managers have on company performance. We
are very fortunate to have the group of managers that are associated with us.

保險公司提供的制式保單很容易為其他同業所模仿,他們唯一的產品就是承諾,保險
執照不難取得,而費率也是公開的,這行業商標、專利、地點、企業年資、原物料等
都不重要,消費者對於產品也很難產生特別的偏好,在企業的年報中,常常看到有人
強調自己不同於其他同業的特殊之處,有時這樣的說法有道理,有時沒什麼道理,但
不可否認的是,保險事業的本質使得經理人的表現,對於公司績效的影響具有舉足輕
重的地位,很幸運的是與我們共事的是一群優秀的經理人。

Insurance Investments

保險事業的投資

During the past two years insurance investments at cost (excluding the
investment in our affiliate, Blue Chip Stamps) have grown from $134.6
million to $252.8 million. Growth in insurance reserves, produced by our
large gain in premium volume, plus retained earnings, have accounted for
this increase in marketable securities. In turn, net investment income of the
Insurance Group has improved from $8.4 million pre-tax in 1975 to $12.3
million pre-tax in 1977.

過去兩年我們保險事業投入的資金成本(扣除對關係企業藍籌郵票的投資)已從原先的
1.346億美元成長到2.528億美元,保險準備的成長,主要是由於保費收入的大幅增
加,加上保留的盈餘,是我們投資部位之所以大幅增加的原因,也因此,我們整體保
險事業因為投資而增加的淨收益也由1975年稅前840萬美元的利益成長到1977年
的1,230萬美元。

In addition to this income from dividends and interest, we realized
capital gains of $6.9 million before tax, about one-quarter from bonds and
the balance from stocks. Our unrealized gain in stocks at yearend 1977 was
approximately $74 million but this figure, like any other figure of a single
date (we had an unrealized loss of $17 million at the end of 1974), should not
be taken too seriously. Most of our large stock positions are going to be
held for many years and the scorecard on our investment decisions will be
provided by business results over that period, and not by prices on any given
day. Just as it would be foolish to focus unduly on short-term prospects
when acquiring an entire company, we think it equally unsound to become
mesmerized by prospective near term earnings or recent trends in earnings
when purchasing small pieces of a company; i.e., marketable common
stocks.

除了股利與利息收入之外,我們還實現了稅前690萬美元的資本利得,四分之一來自
債券,剩下的則來自股票,至於1977年年底未實現的資本利得大約在7,400萬美元
之譜,對於這個數字,就像任何單一日期的數字,(1974年底帳上有1,700萬美元的
未實現損失)大家不必看得太認真,因為我們持股部位比較大的投資,往往要持有很長
一段時間,所以我們的投資績效依據的是這些被投資公司在這段期間的經營表現,而
不是特定時期的股票價格,就像我們認為買下一家公司卻只關心他的短期狀況是件很
傻的事,同樣地持有公司部份所有權-也就是股票,我們認為只關心短期盈餘或者是盈
餘短暫的變動也不應該。

A little digression illustrating this point may be interesting. Berkshire
Fine Spinning Associates and Hathaway Manufacturing were merged in 1955
to form Berkshire Hathaway Inc. In 1948, on a pro forma combined basis,
they had earnings after tax of almost $18 million and employed 10,000
people at a dozen large mills throughout New England. In the business
world of that period they were an economic powerhouse. For example, in
that same year earnings of IBM were $28 million (now $2.7 billion), Safeway
Stores, $10 million, Minnesota Mining, $13 million, and Time, Inc., $9
million. But, in the decade following the 1955 merger aggregate sales of
$595 million produced an aggregate loss for Berkshire Hathaway of $10
million. By 1964 the operation had been reduced to two mills and net worth
had shrunk to $22 million, from $53 million at the time of the merger. So
much for single year snapshots as adequate portrayals of a business.

離題一下,有一點很有趣足以說明上述情況,Berkshire紡紗與Hathaway工業是在
1955年合併成為Berkshire Hathaway公司的,再將時間往回推到1948年,在擬制
合併的基礎下,當年他們合計稅前盈餘達到1,800萬美元,旗下擁有十個遍佈新英格
蘭地區的工廠,員工人數一萬人,在當時的環境,他們算是經濟成長的重要動力之一,
因為IBM在同一年度的盈餘也不過2,800萬美元(現在的年獲利達到27億美元),另外
Safeway商店1,000萬、3M只有1,300萬而時代雜誌則為900萬,然而在雙方合併
後的十年內,累計營收雖然有5.95億,但結算虧損卻達到1,000萬美元,時至1964
年,公司的營運僅剩兩家工廠,淨值更從合併時的5,300萬美元大幅縮減至2,200萬
美元,所以我們可以這樣說,單一年度所透露出公司營運的景況實在是極其有限。

Equity holdings of our insurance companies with a market value of over
$5 million on December 31, 1977 were as follows:

以下是1977年底,我們旗下保險公司持股市價超過500萬美元的投資:

No. of Shares Company Cost Market

------------- ------- -------- --------

(000’s omitted)

220,000 Capital Cities Communications, Inc. ..... $ 10,909 $ 13,228

1,986,953 Government Employees Insurance

Company Convertible Preferred ........ 19,417 33,033

1,294,308 Government Employees Insurance

Company Common Stock ................. 4,116 10,516

592,650 The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. 4,531 17,187

324,580 Kaiser Aluminum& Chemical Corporation ... 11,218 9,981

1,305,800 Kaiser Industries, Inc. ................. 778 6,039

226,900 Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Inc. .......... 7,534 8,736

170,800 Ogilvy & Mather International, Inc. ..... 2,762 6,960

934,300 The Washington Post Company Class B ..... 10,628 33,401

-------- --------

Total ................................... $ 71,893 $139,081

All Other Holdings ...................... 34,996 41,992

-------- --------

Total Equities .......................... $106,889 $181,073

======== ========

We select our marketable equity securities in much the same way we
would evaluate a business for acquisition in its entirety. We want the
business to be (1) one that we can understand, (2) with favorable long-term
prospects, (3) operated by honest and competent people, and (4) available at
a very attractive price. We ordinarily make no attempt to buy equities for
anticipated favorable stock price behavior in the short term. In fact, if their
business experience continues to satisfy us, we welcome lower market prices
of stocks we own as an opportunity to acquire even more of a good thing at a
better price.

我們投資股票的選擇方式與買進整家企業的模式很相近,我們想要的企業必須是(1)我
們可以了解的行業(2)具有長期競爭力(3)由才德兼具的人士所經營(4)吸引人的價格,
我們從來不試著去買進一些短期股價預期有所表現的股票,事實上,如果其企業的表
現符合我們的預期,我們反而希望他們的股價不要太高,如此我們才有機會以更理想
的價格買進更多的股權。

Our experience has been that pro-rata portions of truly outstanding
businesses sometimes sell in the securities markets at very large discounts
from the prices they would command in negotiated transactions involving
entire companies. Consequently, bargains in business ownership, which
simply are not available directly through corporate acquisition, can be
obtained indirectly through stock ownership. When prices are appropriate,
we are willing to take very large positions in selected companies, not with any
intention of taking control and not foreseeing sell-out or merger, but with
the expectation that excellent business results by corporations will translate
over the long term into correspondingly excellent market value and dividend
results for owners, minority as well as majority.

我們過去的經驗顯示,一家好公司部份所有權的價格,常常要比協議談判買下整家要
來得便宜許多,也因此想要擁有價廉物美的企業所有權,直接購併的方式往往不可得,
還不如透過間接擁有股權的方式來達到目的,當價格合理,我們很願意在某些特定的
公司身上持有大量的股權,這樣做不是為了要取得控制權,也不是為了將來再轉賣出
或是進行購併,而是期望企業本身能有好的表現,進而轉化成企業長期的價值以及豐
厚的股利收入,不論是少數股權或是多數股權皆是如此。

Such investments initially may have negligible impact on our operating
earnings. For example, we invested $10.9 million in Capital Cities
Communications during 1977. Earnings attributable to the shares we
purchased totaled about $1.3 million last year. But only the cash dividend,
which currently provides $40,000 annually, is reflected in our operating
earnings figure.

這類的投資初期對於我們的經營利益的助益或許不大,舉例來說,1977年我們投資了
1,090萬美元在資本城通訊公司之上,去年依照持股比例應可分得的盈餘約為130萬
美元,但實在反應在我們財務報表上的卻只有區區4萬美元的現金股利。

Capital Cities possesses both extraordinary properties and
extraordinary management. And these management skills extend equally
to operations and employment of corporate capital. To purchase, directly,
properties such as Capital Cities owns would cost in the area of twice our cost
of purchase via the stock market, and direct ownership would offer no
important advantages to us. While control would give us the opportunity -
and the responsibility - to manage operations and corporate resources, we
would not be able to provide management in either of those respects equal to
that now in place. In effect, we can obtain a better management result
through non-control than control. This is an unorthodox view, but one we
believe to be sound.

資本城擁有優良的資產與優異的管理階層,而這些管理技能同樣也延伸至營運面及資
金管理面,想要直接買下資本城所要花費的成本可能是兩倍於間接透過股票市場投
資,更何況直接擁有權對我們並沒有多大的好處,控制權雖然讓我們擁有機會,但同
樣也帶來責任去管理企業的營運及資源,我們根本就沒有能力提供現有管理階層關於
這些方面額外任何的助益,事實上,與其管還不如不管,更能得到好的結果,這樣的
觀念或許很反常,但卻是我們認為比較合適的。

Banking

銀行業

In 1977 the Illinois National Bank continued to achieve a rate of
earnings on assets about three times that of most large banks. As usual,
this record was achieved while the bank paid maximum rates to savers and
maintained an asset position combining low risk and exceptional liquidity.
Gene Abegg formed the bank in 1931 with $250,000. In its first full year of
operation, earnings amounted to $8,782. Since that time, no new capital
has been contributed to the bank; on the contrary, since our purchase in
1969, dividends of $20 million have been paid. Earnings in 1977 amounted
to $3.6 million, more than achieved by many banks two or three times its
size.

1977年伊利諾國家銀行的資產報酬率約為其他規模較大同業的三倍,一如往常,這樣
的成績,還搭配給予存戶最優惠的利率,同時維持風險最低流動性最高的資產組合,
Gene Abegg在1931年以25萬美元成立這家銀行,在第一個完整的營業年度,盈餘
就達到8,782美元,從那時候開始,銀行就沒有再辦理任何一次增資,相反地,當我
們在1969年買下該公司時,馬上就領到了2,000萬美元的現金股利,1977年的盈餘
更達到360萬美元,甚至比規模大他兩三倍的銀行同業還多。

Late last year Gene, now 80 and still running a banking operation
without peer, asked that a successor be brought in. Accordingly, Peter
Jeffrey, formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of American National
Bank of Omaha, has joined the Illinois National Bank effective March 1st as
President and Chief Executive Officer.

去年現年80歲依然一馬當先專注於銀行營運的Gene,要求新的接任者接手,因此前
奧瑪哈美國國家銀行的總裁Peter Jeffrey於3/1正式加入伊利諾國家銀行擔任新總
裁。

Gene continues in good health as Chairman. We expect a continued
successful operation at Rockford’s leading bank.

老當益壯的Gene依然擔任董事長,我們預期該銀行仍將成為Rockford地區首區一指
的銀行 (伊利諾州城市)。

Blue Chip Stamps

藍籌郵票

We again increased our equity interest in Blue Chip Stamps, and owned
approximately 36 1/2% at the end of 1977. Blue Chip had a fine year,
earning approximately $12.9 million from operations and, in addition, had
realized securities gains of $4.1 million.

我們再度增加對藍籌郵票的持股權益,截至1977年底,持有的股權比例大約是
36.5%,藍籌郵票去年的表現相當不錯,營業利益達到1,290萬美元,此外還有410
萬的已實現資本利得。

Both Wesco Financial Corp., an 80% owned subsidiary of Blue Chip
Stamps, managed by Louis Vincenti, and See’s Candies, a 99% owned
subsidiary, managed by Chuck Huggins, made good progress in 1977.
Since See’s was purchased by Blue Chip Stamps at the beginning of 1972,
pre-tax operating earnings have grown from $4.2 million to $12.6 million
with little additional capital investment. See’s achieved this record while
operating in an industry experiencing practically no unit growth.
Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. may obtain the annual report of Blue
Chip Stamps by requesting it from Mr. Robert H. Bird, Blue Chip Stamps,
5801 South Eastern Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90040.

藍籌郵票持有80%股權的Wesco金融公司(由Louis Vincenti所管理)及持有99%股權
的子公司喜斯糖果(由Chuck Huggins所管理)在1977年都有重大進展,自從喜斯糖
果在1972年被藍籌郵票所買下後,就沒有挹注任何額外的資本,其稅前盈餘從420
萬美元成長到1,260萬美元,尤其難得的是喜斯所處的產業環境,幾乎沒有成長,若
有需要Berkshire的股東可向Mr. Robert(地址加州洛杉磯5801 South Eastern
Avenue)索取藍籌郵票的年報。

Warren E. Buffett, Chairman
March 14,1978
Warren E. Buffett

華倫.巴菲特
董事會主席
1978年3月14日
創作者介紹

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