BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.

波克夏海瑟崴股份有限公司


To the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.:

致所有股東:

 

Last year we made a prediction: "A reduction [in Berkshire's net worth]
is almost certain in at least one of the next three years." During much
of 1990's second half, we were on the road to quickly proving that
forecast accurate. But some strengthening in stock prices late in the
year enabled us to close 1990 with net worth up by $362 million, or
7.3%. Over the last 26 years (that is, since present management took
over) our per-share book value has grown from $19.46 to $4,612.06,
or at a rate of 23.2% compounded annually.

 

去年我們曾經預測過,Berkshire的淨值在未來的三年內有可能會減少,結果在
1990年的下半年我們差點就證明了這項預測的真實性,還好年底前股票價格的
上漲使得我們公司的淨值,還是較前一個年度增加7.3%,約3.62億美元;而
總計過去26年以來(也就是自從現有經營階層接手後),每股淨值從19元成長
到現在的4,612美元,年複合成長率約為23.2%。


      Our growth rate was lackluster in 1990 because our four major
common stock holdings, in aggregate, showed little change in market
value. Last year I told you that though these companies - Capital
Cities/ABC, Coca-Cola, GEICO, and Washington Post - had fine
businesses and superb managements, widespread recognition of these
attributes had pushed the stock prices of the four to lofty levels. The
market prices of the two media companies have since fallen
significantly - for good reasons relating to evolutionary industry
developments that I will discuss later - and the price of Coca-Cola
stock has increased significantly for what I also believe are good
reasons. Overall, yearend 1990 prices of our "permanent four," though
far from enticing, were a bit more appealing than they were a year
earlier.

1990年成長之所以減緩的原因主要是因為我們四個主要的股票投資市值加總
並沒有多大的變動所致,去年我曾向各位表示,雖然這些公司-資本城/ABC、可
口可樂、GEICO保險與華盛頓郵報等,擁有良好的企業體質與經營階層,但是
因為這些特點現在已廣為投資大眾所認同,所以也促使公司股價推升到一個頗高
的價位;另外其中兩家媒體事業之後的股價又大幅滑落,原因在於後面我會再詳
細敘述該產業革命性的演進,另外可口可樂的股價也因為我個人也相當認同的原
因為大眾所接受而大漲,不過總的來說,目前這四大天王的股價,雖然不夠吸引
人,但比起一年以前來說,要算是合理的多。

      Berkshire's 26-year record is meaningless in forecasting future
results; so also, we hope, is the one-year record. We continue to aim
for a 15% average annual gain in intrinsic value. But, as we never tire
of telling you, this goal becomes ever more difficult to reach as our
equity base, now $5.3 billion, increases.


Berkshire過去26年來輝煌的記錄並不足以確保未來也會如此發展,當然我們
也希望過去一年慘痛的記錄也不能代表未來的結果就是如此,我們還是依舊將目
標訂在每年15%的實質價值成長率,只是還有一點是過去從未向各位報告的,
以我們現在的股權規模,要完成這項任務的門檻是53億美金!


      If we do attain that 15% average, our shareholders should fare well.
However, Berkshire's corporate gains will produce an identical gain for
a specific shareholder only if he eventually sells his shares at the same
relationship to intrinsic value that existed when he bought them. For
example, if you buy at a 10% premium to intrinsic value; if intrinsic
value subsequently grows at 15% a year; and if you then sell at a 10%
premium, your own return will correspondingly be 15% compounded.
(The calculation assumes that no dividends are paid.) If, however, you
buy at a premium and sell at a smaller premium, your results will be
somewhat inferior to those achieved by the company.

要是我們真的能夠達到這樣的目標,那麼我們的股東一定賺翻了,因為
Berkshire的企業獲利將會為那些買賣價格與公司實質價值一致的投資人創造
相同的獲利,舉例來說,如果你以實質價值10%的溢價買進Berkshire股份,
假設後來公司實質價值每年成長了15%,而之後你同樣以實質價值10%的溢價
賣出所持有的股份,則你的投資年報酬率應該也會是15%(這個例子假設期間公
司並未發放任何股利),當然要是後來你以低於10%的溢價賣出股份的話,那麼
你最後所得到的投資報酬率可能就會低於公司同期間15%的報酬率。

      Ideally, the results of every Berkshire shareholder would closely
mirror those of the company during his period of ownership. That is
why Charlie Munger, Berkshire's Vice Chairman and my partner, and I
hope for Berkshire to sell consistently at about intrinsic value. We
prefer such steadiness to the value-ignoring volatility of the past two
years: In 1989 intrinsic value grew less than did book value, which was
up 44%, while the market price rose 85%; in 1990 book value and
intrinsic value increased by a small amount, while the market price fell
23%.

在理想的情況下,Berkshire所有的股東的投資報酬,在其擁有公司部份所有權
的期間,應該會與公司本身的經營成果相符,這也是為什麼查理孟格-Berkshire
的副主席,也是主要的合夥人,和我本身都希望Berkshire的股價能與其所代表
的實質價值維持一定關係的原因,相較於過去兩年股市默視價值的任意波動,我
們寧願Berkshire股價穩定一點,1989年的實質價值約成長幅度遠低於帳面價
值44%的增加幅度,與股價85%的大漲;到了1990年,帳面價值與實質價值
都略微增加,但同期間的本公司的股票價格卻下跌了23%。。

      Berkshire's intrinsic value continues to exceed book value by a
substantial margin. We can't tell you the exact differential because
intrinsic value is necessarily an estimate; Charlie and I might, in fact,
differ by 10% in our appraisals. We do know, however, that we own
some exceptional businesses that are worth considerably more than
the values at which they are carried on our books.

截至目前為止,Berkshire的實質價值仍與帳面價值仍有一段不小的差距,不過
我們無法告訴你實際的數字是多少,因為實質價值本身就是一個估計數,事實上
光是查理與我自己本身所估出來的數字就可能有超過10%的差距,不過可以確
信的是,我們所擁有一些優秀的企業其實際的價值遠高於列示在公司帳上的投資
成本。

      Much of the extra value that exists in our businesses has been
created by the managers now running them. Charlie and I feel free to
brag about this group because we had nothing to do with developing
the skills they possess: These superstars just came that way. Our job is
merely to identify talented managers and provide an environment in
which they can do their stuff. Having done it, they send their cash to
headquarters and we face our only other task: the intelligent
deployment of these funds.

我們的被投資公司之所以能夠擁有這麼多額外的價值,完全要歸功於經營它們的
這批優秀經理人,查理跟我可以很自在地誇耀這支團隊,因為他們之所以能夠擁
有這些才能與我們一點關係都沒有,這些超級經理人一直都是如此,而我們的工
作只不過是發掘這些有才能的經理人同時提供一個環境,讓他們可以好好地發
揮,就這樣他們就會將現金源源不絕地送回總部,接下來我們就會面臨另一項重
要的任務-如何有效地運用這些資金。

      My own role in operations may best be illustrated by a small tale
concerning my granddaughter, Emily, and her fourth birthday party
last fall. Attending were other children, adoring relatives, and Beemer
the Clown, a local entertainer who includes magic tricks in his act.

我個人在營運上扮演的角色可由我孫女Emily的一個小故事來做說明,去年秋天
在她四歲的生日宴會上,參加的人除了小朋友與疼愛她的家人之外,還有一位小
丑演員Beemer,席間他還特地為大家表演了一段魔術。

      Beginning these, Beemer asked Emily to help him by waving a
"magic wand" over "the box of wonders." Green handkerchiefs went
into the box, Emily waved the wand, and Beemer removed blue ones.
Loose handkerchiefs went in and, upon a magisterial wave by Emily,
emerged knotted. After four such transformations, each more amazing
than its predecessor, Emily was unable to contain herself. Her face
aglow, she exulted: "Gee, I'm really good at this."

一開始Beemer請Emily幫他拿一支神奇的魔棒在一個寶貝箱上揮舞,綠色的
手帕放進箱子裡,在Emily揮了棒子一下之後,跑出來藍色的手帕;接著又放進
一條手帕,Emily又揮了一下,這回跑出一條打結的手帕,經過四回合一次比一
次精彩的表演之後,Emily喜不自勝,臉上發光沾沾自喜的大叫,「我實在是太
厲害了!」

      And that sums up my contribution to the performance of
Berkshire's business magicians - the Blumkins, the Friedman family,
Mike Goldberg, the Heldmans, Chuck Huggins, Stan Lipsey and Ralph
Schey. They deserve your applause.


這就是我在Berkshire的所有貢獻,感謝旗下企業所有的魔術師- Blumkins家
族、Friedman 家族、Mike Goldberg、the Heldmans、Chuck Huggins、
Stan Lipsey與Ralph Schey等人,請為這些人精彩的演出給予熱烈的掌聲。


Sources of Reported Earnings

帳列盈餘的來源

      The table below shows the major sources of Berkshire's reported
earnings. In this presentation, amortization of Goodwill and other
major purchase-price accounting adjustments are not charged against
the specific businesses to which they apply, but are instead
aggregated and shown separately. This procedure lets you view the
earnings of our businesses as they would have been reported had we
not purchased them. I've explained in past reports why this form of
presentation seems to us to be more useful to investors and managers
than one utilizing generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP),
which require purchase-price adjustments to be made on a
business-by-business basis. The total net earnings we show in the
table are, of course, identical to the GAAP total in our audited financial
statements.

下表顯示Berkshire帳列盈餘的主要來源,在這張表中商譽的攤銷數與購買法會
計調整數會從個別被投資公司分離出來,單獨加總列示,之所以這樣做是為了讓
旗下各事業的盈餘狀況,不因我們的投資而有所影響,過去我一再地強調我們認
為這樣的表達方式,較之一般公認會計原則要求以個別企業基礎做調整,不管是
對投資者或是管理者來說,更有幫助,當然最後損益加總的數字仍然會與經會計
師查核的數字一致。

 

      Much additional information about these businesses is given on
pages 39-46, where you also will find our segment earnings reported
on a GAAP basis. For information on Wesco's businesses, I urge you to
read Charlie Munger's letter, which starts on page 56. His letter also
contains the clearest and most insightful discussion of the banking
industry that I have seen.

年報中還有企業個別部門的資訊,有關Wesco公司的資訊,我強烈建議大家可
以看看查理孟格所寫的年報,裡頭包含我看過對銀行產業寫的最詳盡精闢的分
析。


(000s omitted)

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

Berkshire's Share

of Net Earnings

(after taxes and

Pre-Tax Earnings minority interests)

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

1990 1989 1990 1989

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

Operating Earnings:

Insurance Group:

Underwriting ................ $(26,647) $(24,400) $(14,936) $(12,259)

Net Investment Income ....... 327,048 243,599 282,613 213,642

Buffalo News .................. 43,954 46,047 25,981 27,771

Fechheimer .................... 12,450 12,621 6,605 6,789

Kirby ......................... 27,445 26,114 17,613 16,803

Nebraska Furniture Mart ....... 17,248 17,070 8,485 8,441

Scott Fetzer Manufacturing Group 30,378 33,165 18,458 19,996

See's Candies ................. 39,580 34,235 23,892 20,626

Wesco - other than Insurance .. 12,441 13,008 9,676 9,810

World Book .................... 31,896 25,583 20,420 16,372

Amortization of Goodwill ...... (3,476) (3,387) (3,461) (3,372)

Other Purchase-Price

Accounting Charges ......... (5,951) (5,740) (6,856) (6,668)

Interest Expense* ............. (76,374) (42,389) (49,726) (27,098)

Shareholder-Designated

Contributions .............. (5,824) (5,867) (3,801) (3,814)

Other ......................... 58,309 23,755 35,782 12,863

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

Operating Earnings .............. 482,477 393,414 370,745 299,902

Sales of Securities ............. 33,989 223,810 23,348 147,575

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

Total Earnings - All Entities $516,466 $617,224 $394,093 $447,477

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

*Excludes interest expense of Scott Fetzer Financial Group and Mutual Savings & Loan.

*不包含史考特飛茲與聯合儲貸的利息費用

      We refer you also to pages 47-53, where we have rearranged
Berkshire's financial data into four segments. These correspond to the
way Charlie and I think about the business and should help you more
in estimating Berkshire's intrinsic value than consolidated figures
would do. Shown on these pages are balance sheets and earnings
statements for: (1) our insurance operations, with their major
investment positions itemized; (2) our manufacturing, publishing and
retailing businesses, leaving aside certain non- operating assets and
purchase-price accounting adjustments; (3) our subsidiaries engaged
in finance-type operations, which are Mutual Savings and Scott Fetzer
Financial; and (4) an all-other category that includes the
non-operating assets (primarily marketable securities) held by the
companies in segment (2), all purchase- price accounting adjustments,
and various assets and debts of the Wesco and Berkshire parent
companies.

目前我們已將Berkshire的財務資訊重新分類為四大部門,這是查理跟我認為最
可以幫助大家計算本公司實質價值的最好方式,以下的資產負債表與盈餘表就是
依此分類表示(1)保險事業,另將主要投資部位歸類(2)製造、出版與零售事業,
扣除非本業資產與購買法的會計調整(3)金融業的子公司-諸如聯合儲貸與史考
特飛茲財務公司(4)其他項目,包含前述非營業資產(主要是有價證券投資)與購買
法調整,還有Wesco與Berkshire母公司一些其他的資產與負債。

      If you combine the earnings and net worths of these four
segments, you will derive totals matching those shown on our GAAP
statements. However, I want to emphasize that this four-category
presentation does not fall within the purview of our auditors, who in
no way bless it.


如果你將這四個部門的盈餘與淨值加總,會得到與經會計師依一般公認會計原則
查核一致的數字,然而我還是必須強調這種表達方式並未經過會計師的檢視,我
想他寧可選擇不要看的好。


"Look-Through" Earnings

透視盈餘

      The term "earnings" has a precise ring to it. And when an earnings
figure is accompanied by an unqualified auditor's certificate, a naive
reader might think it comparable in certitude to pi, calculated to
dozens of decimal places.

盈餘這個名詞有一個明確的定義,而當盈餘數字再加上會計師無保留意見的背書
後,單純的投資人可能就會以為它是像圓周率一樣經過計算,可以到好幾個小數
點般精確。

      In reality, however, earnings can be as pliable as putty when a
charlatan heads the company reporting them. Eventually truth will
surface, but in the meantime a lot of money can change hands. Indeed,
some important American fortunes have been created by the
monetization of accounting mirages.

然而事實上,當公司盈餘數字是由騙徒所主導時,盈餘可能像油灰一樣地脆弱,
當然到最後真相一定會大白,但在此同時一大筆財富可能已經換手,確實許多美
國財富傳奇就是靠著這種會計數字假象所創造出來的。

      Funny business in accounting is not new. For connoisseurs of
chicanery, I have attached as Appendix A on page 22 a previously
unpublished satire on accounting practices written by Ben Graham in
1936. Alas, excesses similar to those he then lampooned have many
times since found their way into the financial statements of major
American corporations and been duly certified by big-name auditors.
Clearly, investors must always keep their guard up and use accounting
numbers as a beginning, not an end, in their attempts to calculate true
"economic earnings" accruing to them.

有趣的企業會計並不是件新鮮事,對於企業詐騙的專家,我特別附上班哲明葛拉
罕在1936年所寫未經出版有關會計做帳的諷刺性文章,自此之後,我們可以發
現這種葛拉罕所描寫的方法散見於各大美國企業財務報表中,而且全部都經過各
大會計師事務所簽證背書,所以對此投資人必須特別提高警戒,要了解在計算一
家公司的實質的經濟盈餘時,會計數字只不過是個出發點,而絕非是最後的結果。

      Berkshire's own reported earnings are misleading in a different,
but important, way: We have huge investments in companies
("investees") whose earnings far exceed their dividends and in which
we record our share of earnings only to the extent of the dividends we
receive. The extreme case is Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. Our 17% share of
the company's earnings amounted to more than $83 million last year.
Yet only about $530,000 ($600,000 of dividends it paid us less some
$70,000 of tax) is counted in Berkshire's GAAP earnings. The residual
$82 million-plus stayed with Cap Cities as retained earnings, which
work for our benefit but go unrecorded on our books.

Berkshire本身的盈餘在某些重要的方面也有所誤導,首先我們主要的被投資公
司其實際盈餘遠高於後來發放的股利,而Berkshire帳列的盈餘也僅限於這些已
發放的股利收入,最明顯的例子就是資本城/ABC公司,若依照我們持股17%的
比例,去年可分得的利潤是8,300萬美元,但Berkshire依照一般公認會計原
則所認列的投資利益卻只有53萬美元(亦即60萬股利收入扣除7萬美元的稅
負),剩下8,200多萬的盈餘則保留在該公司的帳上,雖然實際上對我們大有益
處,但在我們公司的帳上卻一點蹤跡都沒有。

      Our perspective on such "forgotten-but-not-gone" earnings is
simple: The way they are accounted for is of no importance, but their
ownership and subsequent utilization is all-important. We care not
whether the auditors hear a tree fall in the forest; we do care who
owns the tree and what's next done with it.

我們對於這種被遺忘但卻存在的盈餘的態度很簡單,到底認不認列數字一點都不
重要,最重要的是我們可以確定這些盈餘可以為我們所有且會被充分加以運用,
我們不在乎聽到會計師說森林中有一棵樹被砍倒了,我們在乎的是這棵樹是不是
屬於我們的,以及之後要如何來處理它。

      When Coca-Cola uses retained earnings to repurchase its shares,
the company increases our percentage ownership in what I regard to
be the most valuable franchise in the world. (Coke also, of course,
uses retained earnings in many other value-enhancing ways.) Instead
of repurchasing stock, Coca-Cola could pay those funds to us in
dividends, which we could then use to purchase more Coke shares.
That would be a less efficient scenario: Because of taxes we would pay
on dividend income, we would not be able to increase our
proportionate ownership to the degree that Coke can, acting for us. If
this less efficient procedure were followed, however, Berkshire would
report far greater "earnings."

當可口可樂利用保留盈餘來買回自家股份,該公司等於間接增加我們的持股比
例,也就是此舉讓我認定這家公司是全世界最好的企業(當然可口可樂還將資金
運用在很多加強公司利益的地方上),除了買回股份,可口可樂也可以將這些資
金以股利的方式退還給股東,然後我們同樣可以利用這筆錢買進更多可口可樂的
股票,只是後面這種做法比較沒有效率,因為如此還要支付額外的所得稅,使得
最後所得到的持股比例比前面的方式少一點,而諷刺的是要是利用後面的那種做
法,Berkshire的帳面盈餘可能還會更好看。

      I believe the best way to think about our earnings is in terms of
"look-through" results, calculated as follows: Take $250 million, which
is roughly our share of the 1990 operating earnings retained by our
investees; subtract $30 million, for the incremental taxes we would
have owed had that $250 million been paid to us in dividends; and add
the remainder, $220 million, to our reported operating earnings of
$371 million. Thus our 1990 "look-through earnings" were about
$590 million.

我個人相信最好的方式是利用透視的方法來衡量Berkshire的盈餘,2億5,000
萬美元大概是我們在1990年可以從被投資公司那邊未分配到的營業利潤,扣除
3,000萬的額外股利所得稅,再將剩下的2億2,000萬美元加到本來的帳列盈
餘3億7,100萬,所得的5億9,000萬大概就是我們經過透視的真正盈餘。

      As I mentioned last year, we hope to have look-through earnings
grow about 15% annually. In 1990 we substantially exceeded that rate
but in 1991 we will fall far short of it. Our Gillette preferred has been
called and we will convert it into common stock on April 1. This will
reduce reported earnings by about $35 million annually and
look-through earnings by a much smaller, but still significant, amount.
Additionally, our media earnings - both direct and look-through -
appear sure to decline. Whatever the results, we will post you annually
on how we are doing on a look-through basis.


就像我去年曾經提到的,我希望我們的透視盈餘每年都能夠成長15%,在1990
年我們確實大幅超越這個比率,但1991年結果卻差很多,我們在吉列的可轉換
特別股投資已經被贖回,我們將在4月1日把它們轉為普通股投資,雖然這將
會使得我們每年的帳面盈餘減少3,500萬,透視盈餘也會跟著減少,另外我們
在媒體事業的直接與透視盈餘也可能下滑,但不論如何,我們每年還是會向大家
報告透視盈餘的計算結果。


Non-Insurance Operations

非保險營運

      Take another look at the figures on page 51, which aggregate the
earnings and balance sheets of our non-insurance operations.
After-tax earnings on average equity in 1990 were 51%, a result that
would have placed the group about 20th on the 1989 Fortune 500.

看看52頁的那些數字,亦即我們非保險事業的盈餘與資產負債加總,1990年
的平均股東權益報酬率是51%,這個獲利能力在1989年的財星五百大可以排
在前20名。

      Two factors make this return even more remarkable. First,
leverage did not produce it: Almost all our major facilities are owned,
not leased, and such small debt as these operations have is basically
offset by cash they hold. In fact, if the measurement was return on
assets - a calculation that eliminates the effect of debt upon returns -
our group would rank in Fortune's top ten.

還有兩項因素使得這樣的成績顯得更為出色,第一它們完全不靠融資槓桿,幾乎
所有的主要設備都是自有而不是向外面租的,僅有的負債可以由自有的現金完全
抵銷,事實上若講到資產報酬率,亦即扣除負債對於盈餘的影響,我們非保險事
業甚至可以排在前10名。

      Equally important, our return was not earned from industries, such
as cigarettes or network television stations, possessing spectacular
economics for all participating in them. Instead it came from a group
of businesses operating in such prosaic fields as furniture retailing,
candy, vacuum cleaners, and even steel warehousing. The explanation
is clear: Our extraordinary returns flow from outstanding operating
managers, not fortuitous industry economics.


同樣重要的是我們的獲利並不是來自於像香煙或是電視台這些擁有特殊經濟型
態的產業,相反地它們是來自於一些再平凡不過的產業,諸如傢具零售、糖果、
吸塵器甚至是鋼鐵倉儲等,這樣的解釋很明白,我們得來不易的報酬主要是靠優
秀傑出的經理人後天的努力而非先天的產業環境優勢。


Let's look at the larger operations:

讓我們來看看其中比較大的營運

o      It was a poor year for retailing - particularly for big-ticket items
- but someone forgot to tell Ike Friedman at Borsheim's. Sales were up
18%. That's both a same-stores and all-stores percentage, since
Borsheim's operates but one establishment.

去年對零售業來說算是相當慘淡的一年,尤其是單價高的東西,不過大家可能是
忘了提醒在波仙珠寶店Ike Friedman這項事實,導致他店裡的業績逆勢成長了
18%,這是單店也是全店的數字,自從波仙僅此一家別無分號的老店開幕以來就
是如此。

      But, oh, what an establishment! We can't be sure about the fact
(because most fine-jewelry retailers are privately owned) but we
believe that this jewelry store does more volume than any other in the
U.S., except for Tiffany's New York store.

喔!超厲害的一家店,我們實在不太敢相信這是事實,(因為大部分最高級的珠寶
店多是私人擁有),但我們卻相信這家店除了紐約的Tiffany之外,全美其他所
有的珠寶店沒有一家比得上它。

      Borsheim's could not do nearly that well if our customers came
only from the Omaha metropolitan area, whose population is about
600,000. We have long had a huge percentage of greater Omaha's
jewelry business, so growth in that market is necessarily limited. But
every year business from non-Midwest customers grows dramatically.
Many visit the store in person. A large number of others, however, buy
through the mail in a manner you will find interesting.

波仙的客戶群若只有大奧瑪哈都會區600萬人口的話,生意可能沒有辦法做的
那麼大,長久以來我們在奧瑪哈地區的佔有率一直就很高,不過這部份的成長潛
力實在是有限,所幸每年來自非中西部地區的生意都大幅成長,很多都是客戶自
己慕名而來單獨上門,但還有一大部分是透過相當有趣的郵購方式購買我們的產
品。

      These customers request a jewelry selection of a certain type and
value - say, emeralds in the $10,000 -$20,000 range - and we then
send them five to ten items meeting their specifications and from
which they can pick. Last year we mailed about 1,500 assortments of
all kinds, carrying values ranging from under $1,000 to hundreds of
thousands of dollars.

這些客戶大多指定要一定品質與價位的珠寶,例如1萬到2萬美元的綠寶石,
之後我們會送上五到十個符合他們要求的樣品供他們做挑選,去年我們總共寄出
超過1,500種組合,每種組合的價值從1,000美元到幾十萬美元不等。

      The selections are sent all over the country, some to people no
one at Borsheim's has ever met. (They must always have been well
recommended, however.) While the number of mailings in 1990 was a
record, Ike has been sending merchandise far and wide for decades.
Misanthropes will be crushed to learn how well our "honor-system"
works: We have yet to experience a loss from customer dishonesty.

這些產品被分送到全美各地,有些人是波仙素未謀面的,(當然他們必須要經過
別人鄭重的推薦),雖然這個數量在1990年達到高峰,但事實Ike在幾十年以
前就開始這樣的創舉,厭世者在得知我們所實施的榮譽制度可能會崩潰,截至目
前為止我們還沒有因為客戶的不誠實而遭受損失。

      We attract business nationwide because we have several
advantages that competitors can't match. The most important item in
the equation is our operating costs, which run about 18% of sales
compared to 40% or so at the typical competitor. (Included in the 18%
are occupancy and buying costs, which some public companies include
in "cost of goods sold.") Just as Wal-Mart, with its 15% operating costs,
sells at prices that high-cost competitors can't touch and thereby
constantly increases its market share, so does Borsheim's. What works
with diapers works with diamonds.

我們之所以能夠吸引全美各地的生意上門主要是因為我們有幾項優勢是其他競
爭對手所無法比擬的,其中最重要的一項就是經營的成本,相較於同業的40%
的高比率,波仙的營業成本大概是營業額的18%(這包含持有與買進成本,有些
公開發行的大公司還把他們列在銷貨成本項下),就像是Wal-Mart的營業費用
率只有15%,因此可以以其他高成本競爭者無法達到的價位銷售,從而持續地
增加其市場佔有率,波仙也是如此,同樣的方式除了賣尿布以外,換做於賣鑽石
一樣管用。

      Our low prices create huge volume that in turn allows us to carry
an extraordinarily broad inventory of goods, running ten or more
times the size of that at the typical fine-jewelry store. Couple our
breadth of selection and low prices with superb service and you can
understand how Ike and his family have built a national jewelry
phenomenon from an Omaha location.

由於價格低廉所以銷售數量也相當大,因此我們可以備有各式各樣的產品存貨,
比起其他店規模與數量甚至超過十倍之多,除了種類齊全、價格低廉之外,再加
上我們貼心的服務,這也是為什麼Ike與他的家庭可以在奧瑪哈這個小地方創造
出全美聞名的珠寶傳奇。

      And family it is. Ike's crew always includes son Alan and
sons-in-law Marvin Cohn and Donald Yale. And when things are busy
- that's often - they are joined by Ike's wife, Roz, and his daughters,
Janis and Susie. In addition, Fran Blumkin, wife of Louie (Chairman of
Nebraska Furniture Mart and Ike's cousin), regularly pitches in. Finally,
you'll find Ike's 89-year-old mother, Rebecca, in the store most
afternoons, Wall Street Journal in hand. Given a family commitment
like this, is it any surprise that Borsheim's runs rings around
competitors whose managers are thinking about how soon 5 o'clock
will arrive?


真是虎父無犬子,Ike的團隊總少不了他兒子Alan與女婿Marvin和Donald,
而且要是生意忙不過來的話,Ike的老婆Roz跟他的女兒們Janis與Susie還會
跳進來幫忙,另外Fran Blumkin-Louie的老婆(內布拉斯加傢具店的老闆-Ike
的侄子),有時也會插花幫忙,最後大家絕對不要忘了還有高齡89歲的老祖母
Rebecca,每天下午都會手拿華爾街日報坐鎮店裡,能夠有一個家族像這樣的投
入,也難怪他們可以輕鬆擊敗那些由每天只等五點下班的專業經理人所經營的
店。


o      While Fran Blumkin was helping the Friedman family set records
at Borsheim's, her sons, Irv and Ron, along with husband Louie, were
setting records at The Nebraska Furniture Mart. Sales at our
one-and-only location were $159 million, up 4% from 1989. Though
again the fact can't be conclusively proved, we believe NFM does close
to double the volume of any other home furnishings store in the
country.

當Fran Blumkin幫助Friedman家族創造波仙珠寶店的記錄時,她的先生
Louie再搭配兒子Irv與Ron,同時也在內布拉斯加傢具店創造記錄,1990年
單店的營業額1.59億美元,較前一年度增加4%,雖然沒有精確的統計數字,
但我們相信NFM的銷售量最少是全美其他同業的兩倍以上。

      The NFM formula for success parallels that of Borsheim's. First,
operating costs are rock-bottom - 15% in 1990 against about 40% for
Levitz, the country's largest furniture retailer, and 25% for Circuit City
Stores, the leading discount retailer of electronics and appliances.
Second, NFM's low costs allow the business to price well below all
competitors. Indeed, major chains, knowing what they will face, steer
clear of Omaha. Third, the huge volume generated by our bargain
prices allows us to carry the broadest selection of merchandise
available anywhere.

NFM成功的方程式與波仙十分的相近,首先經營成本實在是有夠低,1990年
相較於全美最大傢具零售商Levitz的40%與家用電器折扣量販店Circuit City
的25%,NFM竟只有15%,第二也由於成本低,所以NFM的產品訂價就可以
比競爭同業低許多,事實上許多通路商也很清楚這一點,所以他們唯一的做法就
是盡量遠離奧瑪哈地區,第三便宜的價格導致銷量大好,從而可以讓我們備有更
多別處所看不到,種類齊全的產品。

      Some idea of NFM's merchandising power can be gleaned from a
recent report of consumer behavior in Des Moines, which showed that
NFM was Number 3 in popularity among 20 furniture retailers serving
that city. That may sound like no big deal until you consider that 19 of
those retailers are located in Des Moines, whereas our store is 130
miles away. This leaves customers driving a distance equal to that
between Washington and Philadelphia in order to shop with us, even
though they have a multitude of alternatives next door. In effect, NFM,
like Borsheim's, has dramatically expanded the territory it serves - not
by the traditional method of opening new stores but rather by creating
an irresistible magnet that employs price and selection to pull in the
crowds.

有關NFM的商品魔力可以從最近Des Moines地區的消費者行為調查報告中看
出端倪,NFM在該地區所有的20家傢具零售商當中排名第三,這訊息乍聽之
下或許沒什麼了不得,但你可知道其他19家都位在Des Moines,除了NFM
離該地區足足有130英哩遠,這距離代表當地的居民雖然在附近有更多的選
擇,卻還是情願大老遠開車走相當從華盛頓到費城的距離,只為了買我們的產
品,事實上NFM就像波仙一樣,急速地擴張其版圖範圍,靠的不是傳統地展店
模式,而是利用價格與種類散發出強烈的磁場,吸引客戶遠道而來。

      Last year at the Mart there occurred an historic event: I
experienced a counterrevelation. Regular readers of this report know
that I have long scorned the boasts of corporate executives about
synergy, deriding such claims as the last refuge of scoundrels
defending foolish acquisitions. But now I know better: In Berkshire's
first synergistic explosion, NFM put a See's candy cart in the store late
last year and sold more candy than that moved by some of the
full-fledged stores See's operates in California. This success
contradicts all tenets of retailing. With the Blumkins, though, the
impossible is routine.


去年在傢具店發生了一件重大的歷史事件,使我經歷了一次自我反省,經常閱讀
我們年報的讀者應該都知道長久以來我對於企業主管動不動就強調的企業綜效
飭之以鼻,認為這不過是經營階層對於愚蠢購併案所作的推托之詞,不過現在我
學乖了,在Berkshire我們創造出第一個企業綜效,NFM在去年底決定在店內
擺設喜斯的糖果車,結果所賣出的糖果甚至比加州的旗艦店還要多,這次的成功
打破了所有零售業的定律,有B太太家族在,所有不可能的事都變成家常便飯。


o      At See's, physical volume set a record in 1990 - but only barely
and only because of good sales early in the year. After the invasion of
Kuwait, mall traffic in the West fell. Our poundage volume at Christmas
dropped slightly, though our dollar sales were up because of a 5%
price increase.

提到喜斯糖果,1990年的銷售數量又創新高,不過成長相當有限且主要是拜年
初業績大好所致,在伊拉克入侵科威特之後,西方世界的交通活動大減,使得聖
誕節的銷售數量稍微下滑,雖然因為調整價格的關係,使得我們的營收成長了
5%。

      That increase, and better control of expenses, improved profit
margins. Against the backdrop of a weak retailing environment, Chuck
Huggins delivered outstanding results, as he has in each of the
nineteen years we have owned See's. Chuck's imprint on the business
- a virtual fanaticism about quality and service - is visible at all of our
225 stores.

銷售金額增加加上營業費用控制得當,獲利也有所改善,面對零售業大環境不佳
的窘境,就如同過去他接手後的19年,Chuck Huggins還是一如往常遞出漂
亮的成績單,Chuck對於品質與服務的堅持,在我們所有225家分店中都看得
到。

      One happening in 1990 illustrates the close bond between See's
and its customers. After 15 years of operation, our store in
Albuquerque was endangered: The landlord would not renew our lease,
wanting us instead to move to an inferior location in the mall and even
so to pay a much higher rent. These changes would have wiped out
the store's profit. After extended negotiations got us nowhere, we set
a date for closing the store.

1990年所發生的一件事最足以說明喜斯糖果與客戶之間緊密的關係,經過15
年的營運,我們在Albuquerque的分店經營發生危機,地主不願與我們繼續簽
訂租約,反而希望我們搬到購物商場地點較差的攤位,並且還要調漲租金,如此
一來將會把我們僅有的利潤給吃光,經過協調不成,迫不得已我們貼出的即將停
業的告示。

      On her own, the store's manager, Ann Filkins, then took action,
urging customers to protest the closing. Some 263 responded by
sending letters and making phone calls to See's headquarters in San
Francisco, in some cases threatening to boycott the mall. An alert
reporter at the Albuquerque paper picked up the story. Supplied with
this evidence of a consumer uprising, our landlord offered us a
satisfactory deal. (He, too, proved susceptible to a counterrevelation.)

之後靠著店經理Ann Filkins個人的努力,採取行動敦促客戶們像房東表達抗
議,總計有263位客戶寫信或打電話到喜斯位於舊金山的總部,有的甚至揚言
要抵制購物商場,甚至引起當地記者的注意,大幅刊載這項消息,有了眾多客戶
的支持,房東最後終於妥協,提供一個令我們滿意的條件(我想他應該也得到一
個自我反省的機會教育)。

      Chuck subsequently wrote personal letters of thanks to every
loyalist and sent each a gift certificate. He repeated his thanks in a
newspaper ad that listed the names of all 263. The sequel: Christmas
sales in Albuquerque were up substantially.


事後Chuck對喜斯所有忠實的支持者一一寫給每個人親筆的感謝函,並在報紙
上刊登所有263位客戶名單,後續的發展是我們在Albuquerque分店的業績
大幅成長。


o      Charlie and I were surprised at developments this past year in the
media industry, including newspapers such as our Buffalo News. The
business showed far more vulnerability to the early stages of a
recession than has been the case in the past. The question is whether
this erosion is just part of an aberrational cycle - to be fully made up
in the next upturn - or whether the business has slipped in a way that
permanently reduces intrinsic business values.

查理跟我對於過去幾年媒體事業的發展感到相當的意外,包含水牛城日報等報紙
在內,這個產業現在因為經濟衰退所受到的傷害,要比過去的經驗要來的嚴重許
多,問題是這種退化只是因為景氣循環的暫時失調呢? (意味著下次景氣翻揚會再
回復),或是有可能一去不復返,企業的價值就此永遠地流失掉。

      Since I didn't predict what has happened, you may question the
value of my prediction about what will happen. Nevertheless, I'll
proffer a judgment: While many media businesses will remain
economic marvels in comparison with American industry generally,
they will prove considerably less marvelous than I, the industry, or
lenders thought would be the case only a few years ago.

因為我沒能預料到已經發生的事,所以你可能會質疑我預測未來的能力,盡管如
此我還是提供個人的判斷供大家參考,雖然相較於美國其他產業,媒體事業仍然
維持一個不錯的經濟榮景,不過還是遠不如我個人、產業界或是借款人幾年前的
預期。

      The reason media businesses have been so outstanding in the
past was not physical growth, but rather the unusual pricing power
that most participants wielded. Now, however, advertising dollars are
growing slowly. In addition, retailers that do little or no media
advertising (though they sometimes use the Postal Service) have
gradually taken market share in certain merchandise categories. Most
important of all, the number of both print and electronic advertising
channels has substantially increased. As a consequence, advertising
dollars are more widely dispersed and the pricing power of ad vendors
has diminished. These circumstances materially reduce the intrinsic
value of our major media investments and also the value of our
operating unit, Buffalo News - though all remain fine businesses.

媒體事業過去只所以能有如此優異的表現,並不是因為銷售數量上的成長,而主
要是靠所有的業者運用非比尋常的價格主導力量,不過時至今日,廣告預算成長
已大不如前,此外逐漸取得商品銷售市場佔有率的一般零售通路商根本就不做媒
體廣告(雖然有時他們會做郵購服務),最重要的是印刷與電子廣告媒體通路大幅
增加,因此廣告預算被大幅度地分散稀釋,廣告商的議價能力逐漸喪失殆盡,這
種的現象大大地減低我們所持有幾個主要媒體事業投資與水牛城報紙的實際價
值,雖然大體而言,他們都還算是不錯的企業。

      Notwithstanding the problems, Stan Lipsey's management of the
News continues to be superb. During 1990, our earnings held up
much better than those of most metropolitan papers, falling only 5%.
In the last few months of the year, however, the rate of decrease was
far greater.

不看這些問題,Stan Lipsey的新聞事業經營還是相當地傑出,1990年我們的
盈餘比起其他主要都會地區的報紙要好的多,大概只下滑了5%,雖然去年有幾
個月份,減少的幅度稍微大了一點。

      I can safely make two promises about the News in 1991: (1) Stan
will again rank at the top among newspaper publishers; and (2)
earnings will fall substantially. Despite a slowdown in the demand for
newsprint, the price per ton will average significantly more in 1991
and the paper's labor costs will also be considerably higher. Since
revenues may meanwhile be down, we face a real squeeze.

展望1991年我可以很安心地向大家做出兩個保證(1)Stan將會繼續在所有的主
要新聞出版者當中名列前茅(2)盈餘一定會大幅縮水,因為雖然新聞印刷需求大
幅縮水,但每噸印刷成本與勞工成本還是會大幅增加,再加上營收下降,面臨兩
頭擠壓的窘境。

      Profits may be off but our pride in the product remains. We
continue to have a larger "news hole" - the portion of the paper
devoted to news - than any comparable paper. In 1990, the proportion
rose to 52.3% against 50.1% in 1989. Alas, the increase resulted from
a decline in advertising pages rather than from a gain in news pages.
Regardless of earnings pressures, we will maintain at least a 50% news
hole. Cutting product quality is not a proper response to adversity.


獲利雖然縮水,但我們對於產品依然感到驕傲,比起其他相同規模的報紙,我們
擁有超高的新聞比率-新聞佔報紙所有版面的比率,從1989年的50.1%增加為
52.3%,只可惜增加的原因是因為廣告量的減少,而不是新聞版面的增加,雖然
受到盈餘不小的壓力,但我們還是會堅持50%的新聞比率,降低產品的品質不
是身處逆境最好的應對方式。


o      The news at Fechheimer, our manufacturer and retailer of
uniforms, is all good with one exception: George Heldman, at 69, has
decided to retire. I tried to talk him out of it but he had one irrefutable
argument: With four other Heldmans - Bob, Fred, Gary and Roger - to
carry on, he was leaving us with an abundance of managerial talent.

接下來是我們制服的製造與銷售商費區海默的好消息,除了一個壞消息之外,那
就是69歲的George Heldman決定要退休,我曾經試著說服他,不過他有一
項令人無法拒絕的理由,因為他留下了其他四位Heldmans家族的成員-Bob、
Fred、Gary與Roger做接班。

      Fechheimer's operating performance improved considerably in
1990, as many of the problems we encountered in integrating the
large acquisition we made in 1988 were moderated or solved. However,
several unusual items caused the earnings reported in the "Sources"
table to be flat. In the retail operation, we continue to add stores and
now have 42 in 22 states. Overall, prospects appear excellent for
Fechheimer.


費區海默的經營績效在1990年又大幅增進,因為先前在1988年大型的購併所
產生的問題已逐漸獲得解決,然而由於幾個特殊的事件使得我們今年的盈餘表現
平平,在零售的部份,我們持續地拓展店面,目前在全美22個州擁有42家店,
總言之,我們對於費區海默的前景仍然相當看好。


o      At Scott Fetzer, Ralph Schey runs 19 businesses with a mastery
few bring to running one. In addition to overseeing three entities listed
on page 6 - World Book, Kirby, and Scott Fetzer Manufacturing - Ralph
directs a finance operation that earned a record $12.2 million pre-tax
in 1990.

輪到史考特飛茲,Ralph Schey經營19家企業的手法比起一般人經營一個還嫻
熟,除了後面所敘述的三家企業-世界百科全書、寇比吸塵器與史考特飛茲製造
公司之外,Ralph甚至還掌管一家年稅前獲利1,220萬美元的財務公司。

      Were Scott Fetzer an independent company, it would rank close to
the top of the Fortune 500 in terms of return on equity, although it is
not in businesses that one would expect to be economic champs. The
superior results are directly attributable to Ralph.

如果史考特飛茲是一個獨立的集團,它在財富五百大股東權益報酬率的排名一定
能名列前茅,雖然它所處的產業很難出現耀眼的明星,但這些難得的成績全都要
歸功於Ralph。

      At World Book, earnings improved on a small decrease in unit
volume. The costs of our decentralization move were considerably less
in 1990 than 1989 and the benefits of decentralization are being
realized. World Book remains far and away the leader in United States
encyclopedia sales and we are growing internationally, though from a
small base.

世界百科全書,雖然銷售數量略微下滑,但盈餘卻變佳,1990年因分散決策中
心的做法所須負擔的成本較1989年減少,而其所帶來的效益卻逐漸顯現,世界
百科全書在全美百科全書銷售中依舊獨占鼇頭,至於海外市場方面雖然基礎規模
較小,但卻持續地成長中。

      Kirby unit volume grew substantially in 1990 with the help of our
new vacuum cleaner, The Generation 3, which was an unqualified
success. Earnings did not grow as fast as sales because of both
start-up expenditures and "learning-curve" problems we encountered
in manufacturing the new product. International business, whose
dramatic growth I described last year, had a further 20% sales gain in
1990. With the aid of a recent price increase, we expect excellent
earnings at Kirby in 1991.

受惠於新款的真空吸塵器,寇比在1990年的銷售數量大增,第三代的推出無疑
是一大勝利,由於先期開發成本與新產品製造所面臨的學習曲線問題,使得獲利
增加不若營收成長的幅度,海外市場方面相較於去年爆炸性的成長,今年再度有
20%的成長,而由於最近產品價格再度調漲,我們預期寇比在1991年的獲利應
該會更好。

      Within the Scott Fetzer Manufacturing Group, Campbell Hausfeld,
its largest unit, had a particularly fine year. This company, the
country's leading producer of small and medium-sized air
compressors, achieved record sales of $109 million, more than 30% of
which came from products introduced during the last five years.

至於史考特飛茲製造公司部份,最大的單位Campbell Hausfeld今年的表現特
別好,它是全美中小型空氣壓縮機的領導品牌,年度營業額創下1.09億美元的
新高,其中有30%的營收係來自於最近五年新推出的產品。

* * * * * * * * * * * *


      In looking at the figures for our non-insurance operations, you
will see that net worth increased by only $47 million in 1990 although
earnings were $133 million. This does not mean that our managers are
in any way skimping on investments that strengthen their business
franchises or that promote growth. Indeed, they diligently pursue both
goals.

在看我們非保險業的營運數字時,大家可能會好奇為何我們年度的盈餘有1.33
億美元,但淨值卻只增加了4,700萬美元呢? 這並不代表我們的經理人用任何
方法來掩蓋其公司的經濟實力或成長潛力,事實上他們無不努力追求這些目標。

      But they also never deploy capital without good reason. The result:
In the past five years they have funneled well over 80% of their
earnings to Charlie and me for use in new business and investment
opportunities.

不過他們也從不會毫無理由地浪費資金,過去五年以來他們將所賺得的80%盈
餘送回母公司,交給查理跟我運用在新的事業與投資機會之上。


Insurance Operations

保險業營運

      Shown below is an updated version of our usual table presenting
key figures for the property-casualty insurance industry:

下表是產物意外險業的最新的幾項重要指數

Yearly Change Combined Ratio Yearly Change Inflation Rate

in Premiums After Policyholder in Incurred Measured by

Written (%) Dividends Losses (%) GNP Deflator (%)

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

1981 ..... 3.8 106.0 6.5 9.6

1982 ..... 3.7 109.6 8.4 6.5

1983 ..... 5.0 112.0 6.8 3.8

1984 ..... 8.5 118.0 16.9 3.8

1985 ..... 22.1 116.3 16.1 3.0

1986 ..... 22.2 108.0 13.5 2.6

1987 ..... 9.4 104.6 7.8 3.1

1988 ..... 4.4 105.4 5.5 3.3

1989 (Revised) 3.2 109.2 7.7 4.1

1990(Est.) 4.5 109.8 5.0 4.1

Source: A.M. Best Co.

      The combined ratio represents total insurance costs (losses
incurred plus expenses) compared to revenue from premiums: A ratio
below 100 indicates an underwriting profit, and one above 100
indicates a loss. The higher the ratio, the worse the year. When the
investment income that an insurer earns from holding policyholders'
funds ("the float") is taken into account, a combined ratio in the 107 -
111 range typically produces an overall breakeven result, exclusive of
earnings on the funds provided by shareholders.

綜合比率代表保險的總成本(理賠損失加上費用)佔保費收入的比例,比率在100
以下代表有承保的損失,在100以上則代表有承保的獲利綜合比率代表的是保
險的總成本(損失加上費用)佔保費收入的比率,100以下代表會有承銷利益,100
以上代表會有承銷損失,若把持有保費收入浮存金(扣除股東權益部份所產生的
盈餘)所產生的投資收益列入考量,損益兩平的範圍大概是在107-111之間。

      For the reasons laid out in previous reports, we expect the
industry's incurred losses to grow at an average of 10% annually, even
in periods when general inflation runs considerably lower. (Over the
last 25 years, incurred losses have in reality grown at a still faster rate,
11%.) If premium growth meanwhile materially lags that 10% rate,
underwriting losses will mount, though the industry's tendency to
under-reserve when business turns bad may obscure their size for a
time.

基於前幾次年報所說明的理由,即使是通貨膨脹在這幾年來相對溫和,我們預期
保險業每年損失增加的比率約在10%左右,若是保費收入成長沒有到達10%以
上,損失一定會增加,(事實上過去25年以來,理賠損失係以11%的速度在成
長),雖然保險公司在景氣不好時,會習慣性地將損失暫時隱藏起來。

      Last year premium growth fell far short of the required 10% and
underwriting results therefore worsened. (In our table, however, the
severity of the deterioration in 1990 is masked because the industry's
1989 losses from Hurricane Hugo caused the ratio for that year to be
somewhat above trendline.) The combined ratio will again increase in
1991, probably by about two points.

去年保費收入的成長遠低於最基本的10%要求,承保成績可想而知會繼續惡化,
(不過在這張表上,1990年惡化的程度因為1989年發生Hugo颶風鉅額損失
而被略微掩蓋),1991年的綜合比率將會再度惡化,有可能會增加2個百分點
以上。

      Results will improve only when most insurance managements
become so fearful that they run from business, even though it can be
done at much higher prices than now exist. At some point these
managements will indeed get the message: The most important thing
to do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging. But so far
that point hasn't gotten across: Insurance managers continue to dig -
sullenly but vigorously.

雖然以現在的市場狀況保險業者大可以用比現在更高的價格來作生意,但營運結
果卻只可能在所有的保險公司主管因為恐懼而遠離市場時才有可能好轉,就某種
程度而言,這些經理人應該已經收到了一些訊息,當你發現自己深陷洞中最重要
的一件事就是不要再挖了,不過這個臨界點顯然還沒到,許多保險公司雖然不甘
願但還是用力地在挖洞。

      The picture would change quickly if a major physical or financial
catastrophe were to occur. Absent such a shock, one to two years will
likely pass before underwriting losses become large enough to raise
management fear to a level that would spur major price increases.
When that moment arrives, Berkshire will be ready - both financially
and psychologically - to write huge amounts of business.

還好這種情況可能在發生重大的天然災害或金融風暴後很快地改變,但若是沒有
這類事件發生,可能還要再等一、兩年,直到所有的保險公司受不了鉅額的承保
損失,才有可能迫使經理人大幅提高保費,而等那個時刻到來時,Berkshire一
定會作好準備,不論是在財務上或是心理上,等著接下大筆大筆的保單。

      In the meantime, our insurance volume continues to be small but
satisfactory. In the next section of this report we will give you a
framework for evaluating insurance results. From that discussion, you
will gain an understanding of why I am so enthusiastic about the
performance of our insurance manager, Mike Goldberg, and his cadre
of stars, Rod Eldred, Dinos Iordanou, Ajit Jain, and Don Wurster.

在此同時,我們的保費收入雖然很少但還是處於可以接受的範圍,在下一段報告
中我會告訴大家如何去衡量保險公司的績效表現,看完之後你就會明瞭,為何我
對我們的保險事業經理人,包含Mike Goldberg與他的明星團隊Rod Eldred、
Dinos Lordanou、Ajit Jalin與Don Wurster的表現會感到如此滿意了。

      In assessing our insurance results over the next few years, you
should be aware of one type of business we are pursuing that could
cause them to be unusually volatile. If this line of business expands, as
it may, our underwriting experience will deviate from the trendline you
might expect: In most years we will somewhat exceed expectations
and in an occasional year we will fall far below them.

在衡量我們保險事業過去幾年的經營績效時,大家必須特別注意因為我們所追求
的生意形態而造成經營結果的波動,若是這類型的生意擴張,事實上這很有可
能,則我們的承保結果可能會與一般產業趨勢有很大的差異,大部分的時候,我
們的成績會超乎大家的預期,但很有可能在某一年度又大幅落後在產業標準之
下。

      The volatility I predict reflects the fact that we have become a
large seller of insurance against truly major catastrophes
("super-cats"), which could for example be hurricanes, windstorms or
earthquakes. The buyers of these policies are reinsurance companies
that themselves are in the business of writing catastrophe coverage for
primary insurers and that wish to "lay off," or rid themselves, of part of
their exposure to catastrophes of special severity. Because the need
for these buyers to collect on such a policy will only arise at times of
extreme stress - perhaps even chaos - in the insurance business, they
seek financially strong sellers. And here we have a major competitive
advantage: In the industry, our strength is unmatched.

我預估的波動主要是反應在我們即將成為真正超大型意外災害保單(又稱霹靂貓)
承保人的事實之上,這些災害有可能是颶風、風暴或是地震,這類保單的購買者
大多是接受一般保險業者分散風險的再保公司,由於他們自己本身也要分散或是
卸下部份單一重要災害的風險,而由於這些保險公司主要是希望在發生若干重大
的意外後,在一片混亂之中還能有可以依靠的對象,所以在選擇投保對象時,首
重的就是財務實力,而這正是我們最主要的競爭優勢,在這個業界,我們堅強的
實力是別人所比不上的。

      A typical super-cat contract is complicated. But in a plain- vanilla
instance we might write a one-year, $10 million policy providing that
the buyer, a reinsurer, would be paid that sum only if a catastrophe
caused two results: (1) specific losses for the reinsurer above a
threshold amount; and (2) aggregate losses for the insurance industry
of, say, more than $5 billion. Under virtually all circumstances, loss
levels that satisfy the second condition will also have caused the first
to be met.

典型的霹靂貓合約相當的複雜,不過以一個最簡單的例子來說,我們可能簽下一
年期,1,000萬美元的保單,其中規定再保公司在災害造成兩種狀況下才有可能
得到理賠,(1)再保公司的損失超過一定的門檻(2)整個保險業界的總損失超過一
定的門檻,假設是50億美元,只是通常在第二種條件符合時,第一個條件也會
達到標準。

      For this $10 million policy, we might receive a premium of, say, $3
million. Say, also, that we take in annual premiums of $100 million
from super-cat policies of all kinds. In that case we are very likely in
any given year to report either a profit of close to $100 million or a
loss of well over $200 million. Note that we are not spreading risk as
insurers typically do; we are concentrating it. Therefore, our yearly
combined ratio on this business will almost never fall in the industry
range of 100 - 120, but will instead be close to either zero or 300%.

對於這種1,000萬的保單,我們收取的保費可能會在300萬左右,假設我們一
年收到所有的霹靂貓保費收入為1億美元,則有可能某些年度我們可以認列將
近1億美元的利益,但也有可能在單一年度要認列2億美元的損失,值得注意
的是我們不像其他保險公司是在分散風險,相反地我們是將風險集中,因此在這
一部份,我們的綜合比率不像一般業者會介於100-120之間,而是有可能會介
於0-300之間。

      Most insurers are financially unable to tolerate such swings. And if
they have the ability to do so, they often lack the desire. They may
back away, for example, because they write gobs of primary property
insurance that would deliver them dismal results at the very time they
would be experiencing major losses on super- cat reinsurance. In
addition, most corporate managements believe that their shareholders
dislike volatility in results.

當然有許多業者無法承受這樣大幅的變動,而且就算有能力可以做到,他們的意
願也不會太高,他們很可能在吃下一大筆保單之後,因為災害發生一時必須承擔
大額的損失而被嚇跑,此外大部分的企業管理階層會認為他們背後的股東應該不
喜歡變動太大。

      We can take a different tack: Our business in primary property
insurance is small and we believe that Berkshire shareholders, if
properly informed, can handle unusual volatility in profits so long as
the swings carry with them the prospect of superior long-term results.
(Charlie and I always have preferred a lumpy 15% return to a smooth
12%.)

不過我們採取的方向就不同了,我們在初級產險市場的業務相當少,但我們相信
Berkshire的股東,若事先經過溝通,應該可以接受這種獲利波動較大,只要最
後長期的結果能夠令人滿意就可以的經營結果,(查理跟我總是喜歡變動的15%
更勝於固定的12%)。

      We want to emphasize three points: (1) While we expect our
super-cat business to produce satisfactory results over, say, a decade,
we're sure it will produce absolutely terrible results in at least an
occasional year; (2) Our expectations can be based on little more than
subjective judgments - for this kind of insurance, historical loss data
are of very limited value to us as we decide what rates to charge today;
and (3) Though we expect to write significant quantities of super-cat
business, we will do so only at prices we believe to be commensurate
with risk. If competitors become optimistic, our volume will fall. This
insurance has, in fact, tended in recent years to be woefully
underpriced; most sellers have left the field on stretchers.

我們有三點必須要強調(1)我們預期霹靂貓的業務長期來講,假設以10年為期,
應該可以獲得令人滿意的結果,當然我們也知道在這其中的某些年度成績可能會
很慘(2)我們這樣的預期並非是基於客觀的判斷,對於這樣的保險業務,歷史的
資料對於我們在做訂價決策時並沒有太大的參考價值(3)雖然我們準備簽下大量
的霹靂貓保單,但有一個很重要的前提那就是價格必須要能夠與所承擔的風險相
當,所以若我們的競爭對手變得樂觀積極,那麼我們的量就會馬上減少,事實上
過去幾年市場價格有點低的離譜,這使得大部分的參與者都被用擔架抬離場。

      At the moment, we believe Berkshire to be the largest U.S. writer
of super-cat business. So when a major quake occurs in an urban area
or a winter storm rages across Europe, light a candle for us.


在此同時,我們相信Berkshire將會成為全美最大的霹靂貓承保公司,所以要是
那天都會地區發生大地震或是發生席捲歐陸地區的風暴時,請點亮蠟燭為我們祈
禱。


Measuring Insurance Performance

衡量保險業的表現

      In the previous section I mentioned "float," the funds of others
that insurers, in the conduct of their business, temporarily hold.
Because these funds are available to be invested, the typical
property-casualty insurer can absorb losses and expenses that exceed
premiums by 7% to 11% and still be able to break even on its business.
Again, this calculation excludes the earnings the insurer realizes on
net worth - that is, on the funds provided by shareholders.

在前段文章我曾提到浮存金-也就是保險業者在從事業務時,所暫時持有的資
金,因為這些資金可以用在投資之上,所以產物意外險公司即使在損失與費用超
過保費收入7%到11%,仍能自行吸收達到損益兩平,當然這要扣除保險業者本
身的淨值,也就是股東自有資金所產生的獲利,。

      However, many exceptions to this 7% to 11% range exist. For
example, insurance covering losses to crops from hail damage
produces virtually no float at all. Premiums on this kind of business
are paid to the insurer just prior to the time hailstorms are a threat,
and if a farmer sustains a loss he will be paid almost immediately.
Thus, a combined ratio of 100 for crop hail insurance produces no
profit for the insurer.

當然7%到11%的範圍還是有許多例外情況,例如保險業者承保穀物冰雹傷害損
失幾乎沒有浮存金的貢獻,保險業者通常是在冰雹即將來臨之前才收到保費收
入,而只要其中有任何一位農夫發生損失就要馬上支付賠償金,因此即使穀物冰
雹保險的綜合比率為100,保險業者也賺不了半毛錢。

      At the other extreme, malpractice insurance covering the potential
liabilities of doctors, lawyers and accountants produces a very high
amount of float compared to annual premium volume. The float
materializes because claims are often brought long after the alleged
wrongdoing takes place and because their payment may be still further
delayed by lengthy litigation. The industry calls malpractice and
certain other kinds of liability insurance "long- tail" business, in
recognition of the extended period during which insurers get to hold
large sums that in the end will go to claimants and their lawyers (and
to the insurer's lawyers as well).

另外一個極端的例子,執行業務過失保險-一種專門提供給醫師、律師與會計師
分散可能責任風險的保險,較之每年收到的保費收入,這部份險種的浮存金就很
高,這種浮存金之所以很重要的原因在於理賠申請案通常會在業務過失發生很長
一段時間之後才會提出,而且真正理賠的時點也會因冗長的法律訴訟程序結束後
才會執行,保險業界統稱業務過失保險與其他特定種類的責任保險為"長尾巴業
務"意思是說保險業者在將理賠金支付給申請人跟他的律師(或甚至是保險公司
的律師)之前,可以持有這一大筆的資金相當長的一段時間。

      In long-tail situations a combined ratio of 115 (or even more) can
prove profitable, since earnings produced by the float will exceed the
15% by which claims and expenses overrun premiums. The catch,
though, is that "long-tail" means exactly that: Liability business written
in a given year and presumed at first to have produced a combined
ratio of 115 may eventually smack the insurer with 200, 300 or worse
when the years have rolled by and all claims have finally been settled.

像這種長尾巴業務,通常即使綜合比率高達115(或更高)都還可能有獲利,因為
在索賠與費用發生之前的那一段時間利用浮存金所賺的利潤甚至會超過15%,
但重點是所謂的長尾巴顧名思義,就是在某一年度承接的責任保險保單之時,假
設會有115的綜合比率,但結果到最後尾大不掉,經過多年的糾纏,終於和解
的結果,有可能讓保險業者承擔200、300或是更糟的綜合比率。

      The pitfalls of this business mandate an operating principle that
too often is ignored: Though certain long-tail lines may prove
profitable at combined ratios of 110 or 115, insurers will invariably
find it unprofitable to price using those ratios as targets. Instead,
prices must provide a healthy margin of safety against the societal
trends that are forever springing expensive surprises on the insurance
industry. Setting a target of 100 can itself result in heavy losses;
aiming for 110 - 115 is business suicide.

這項業務一定要特別注意一項時常令人忽略的經營原則的陷阱,雖然部份長尾巴
業務在110到115的綜合比率之間仍可以獲利,但若是保險業者依此比率來訂
定保費價格的話很可能會虧大錢,所以保費價格必須要有一個安全的邊際空間以
防止當今總是會讓保險業有昂貴的意外蹦出來的社會趨勢,將綜合比率設在100
一定會產生重大的損失,將目標鎖定在110-115之間則無異是自殺的行為。

      All of that said, what should the measure of an insurer's
profitability be? Analysts and managers customarily look to the
combined ratio - and it's true that this yardstick usually is a good
indicator of where a company ranks in profitability. We believe a better
measure, however, to be a comparison of underwriting loss to float
developed.

說了那麼多,到底該如何衡量一家保險公司的獲利能力呢? 分析師與經理人通常
習慣性的會去看綜合比率,當然在我們要看一家保險公司是否賺錢時,這項比率
是一個很好的正確指標,但我們認為還有一項數字是更好的衡量標準,那就是承
保損失與浮存金的比率。

      This loss/float ratio, like any statistic used in evaluating insurance
results, is meaningless over short time periods: Quarterly underwriting
figures and even annual ones are too heavily based on estimates to be
much good. But when the ratio takes in a period of years, it gives a
rough indication of the cost of funds generated by insurance
operations. A low cost of funds signifies a good business; a high cost
translates into a poor business.

這種損失/浮存金比率跟其他保險業常用的績效衡量統計數字一樣,必須要有一
段相當長的時間才有意義,單季或甚至是單一年度的數字,會因為估計的成份太
濃而無參考價值,但是只要時間一拉長,這個比率就可以告訴我們保險營運所產
生浮存金的資金成本,若資金成本低就代表這是一家好公司,相反地就是一家爛
公司。

      On the next page we show the underwriting loss, if any, of our
insurance group in each year since we entered the business and relate
that bottom line to the average float we have held during the year.
From this data we have computed a "cost of funds developed from
insurance."

下一頁是我們進入保險業後,每年的承保損失統計(若有的話),以及每年平均持
有的浮存金數量,從這個表我們可以很輕易地算出保險事業所產生的浮存金其資
金成本是多少。

(1) (2) Yearend Yield

Underwriting Approximate on Long-Term

Loss Average Float Cost of Funds Govt. Bonds

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

(In $ Millions) (Ratio of 1 to 2)

1967 ......... profit $17.3 less than zero 5.50%

1968 ......... profit 19.9 less than zero 5.90%

1969 ......... profit 23.4 less than zero 6.79%

1970 ......... $0.37 32.4 1.14% 6.25%

1971 ......... profit 52.5 less than zero 5.81%

1972 ......... profit 69.5 less than zero 5.82%

1973 ......... profit 73.3 less than zero 7.27%

1974 ......... 7.36 79.1 9.30% 8.13%

1975 ......... 11.35 87.6 12.96% 8.03%

1976 ......... profit 102.6 less than zero 7.30%

1977 ......... profit 139.0 less than zero 7.97%

1978 ......... profit 190.4 less than zero 8.93%

1979 ......... profit 227.3 less than zero 10.08%

1980 ......... profit 237.0 less than zero 11.94%

1981 ......... profit 228.4 less than zero 13.61%

1982 ......... 21.56 220.6 9.77% 10.64%

1983 ......... 33.87 231.3 14.64% 11.84%

1984 ......... 48.06 253.2 18.98% 11.58%

1985 ......... 44.23 390.2 11.34% 9.34%

1986 ......... 55.84 797.5 7.00% 7.60%

1987 ......... 55.43 1,266.7 4.38% 8.95%

1988 ......... 11.08 1,497.7 0.74% 9.00%

1989 ......... 24.40 1,541.3 1.58% 7.97%

1990 ......... 26.65 1,637.3 1.63% 8.24%

 

      The float figures are derived from the total of loss reserves, loss
adjustment expense reserves and unearned premium reserves minus
agents' balances, prepaid acquisition costs and deferred charges
applicable to assumed reinsurance. At some insurers other items
should enter into the calculation, but in our case these are
unimportant and have been ignored.

浮存金的數字是將所有的損失準備、損失費用調整準備與未賺取保費加總後,再
扣除應付佣金、預付購併成本及相關再保遞延費用,若是別的保險業者可能還有
其他項目需要列入做計算,但因為這些科目在Berkshire並不重要,所以予以省
略。

      During 1990 we held about $1.6 billion of float slated eventually
to find its way into the hands of others. The underwriting loss we
sustained during the year was $27 million and thus our insurance
operation produced funds for us at a cost of about 1.6%. As the table
shows, we managed in some years to underwrite at a profit and in
those instances our cost of funds was less than zero. In other years,
such as 1984, we paid a very high price for float. In 19 years out of the
24 we have been in insurance, though, we have developed funds at a
cost below that paid by the government.

在1990年我們大概持有16億美元的浮存金,這些錢會慢慢地流到其他人的手
中,當年度的承保損失約為2,600萬美元,因此我們從保險營運所獲得的資金,
其成本約為1.6%,而就如同這張表所顯示的,有些年度我們有承保獲利,所以
我們的資金成本甚至低於零,但是也有些年度,像1984年我們必須為浮存金支
付相當高的成本,但是總計至今24個年度當中有19個年度,我們負擔的資金
成本甚至比美國政府發行債券的成本還低。

      There are two important qualifications to this calculation. First, the
fat lady has yet to gargle, let alone sing, and we won't know our true
1967 - 1990 cost of funds until all losses from this period have been
settled many decades from now. Second, the value of the float to
shareholders is somewhat undercut by the fact that they must put up
their own funds to support the insurance operation and are subject to
double taxation on the investment income these funds earn. Direct
investments would be more tax-efficient.

這項計算式有兩個重要的要求,首先胖女人漱口都很難聽了,更何況還要她唱
歌,除非等到這時間所發生的損失都已確定解決,否則我們不能確定1967年
-1990年的資金成本到底是多少,第二浮存金對於股東的價值有點打折,因為
股東們還必須投入相對的資金來支持保險事業的營運,同時這些資金所賺取的投
資收益又必須面臨雙重的課稅,相較之下直接投資的稅負就少多了。

      The tax penalty that indirect investments impose on shareholders
is in fact substantial. Though the calculation is necessarily imprecise, I
would estimate that the owners of the average insurance company
would find the tax penalty adds about one percentage point to their
cost of float. I also think that approximates the correct figure for
Berkshire.

間接投資加諸在股東身上的租稅懲罰事實上是相當重的,雖然計算公式鐵定沒辦
法做的很精確,但我估計對於這些保險事業的所有者來說,租稅懲罰至少讓他們
增加一個百分點以上的資金成本,我想這個數字也適用於Berkshire之上。

      Figuring a cost of funds for an insurance business allows anyone
analyzing it to determine whether the operation has a positive or
negative value for shareholders. If this cost (including the tax penalty)
is higher than that applying to alternative sources of funds, the value
is negative. If the cost is lower, the value is positive - and if the cost is
significantly lower, the insurance business qualifies as a very valuable
asset.

分析保險事業的資金成本使得任何人都可以據此判斷這家公司的營運對於股東
到底是正面的還是負面的,若是這項成本(包含租稅懲罰)高於其他替代性的資金
來源,其價值就是負的,若是成本更低,那麼對股東便能產生正面的價值,而若
是成本遠低於一般水準,那麼這個事業就是一項相當有價值的資產。

      So far Berkshire has fallen into the significantly-lower camp. Even
more dramatic are the numbers at GEICO, in which our ownership
interest is now 48% and which customarily operates at an underwriting
profit. GEICO's growth has generated an ever-larger amount of funds
for investment that have an effective cost of considerably less than
zero. Essentially, GEICO's policyholders, in aggregate, pay the
company interest on the float rather than the other way around. (But
handsome is as handsome does: GEICO's unusual profitability results
from its extraordinary operating efficiency and its careful classification
of risks, a package that in turn allows rock-bottom prices for
policyholders.)

到目前為止,Berkshire算是資金成本相當低的那類,雖然我們擁有48%股權的
GEICO的比率更好,且通常每年都享有承保獲利,GEICO藉由不斷地成長提供
越來越多的資金以供投資,而且它的資金成本還遠低於零成本以下,意思是說
GEICO的保單持有人不但要先付保費給公司而且還要支付利息,(但就像有人又
帥又有才幹,GEICO非凡的獲利能力導因於公司經營的效率與對風險的嚴格分
類,如此使得保戶也可享受超低價格的保單)。

      Many well-known insurance companies, on the other hand, incur
an underwriting loss/float cost that, combined with the tax penalty,
produces negative results for owners. In addition, these companies,
like all others in the industry, are vulnerable to catastrophe losses that
could exceed their reinsurance protection and take their cost of float
right off the chart. Unless these companies can materially improve
their underwriting performance - and history indicates that is an
almost impossible task - their shareholders will experience results
similar to those borne by the owners of a bank that pays a higher rate
of interest on deposits than it receives on loans.

在另外一方面,許多知名的保險公司,在考量承保損失/浮存金成本,再加上租
稅懲罰之後,事實上讓股東產生負的報酬,此外這些公司像其他業者一樣,相當
容易受到大型災害的傷害,在扣除再保部份所得到的保護之後,資金成本率還是
有可能升高到無以復加的地步,而除非這些公司能夠大幅改善其承保的成績,歷
史的經驗顯示這是項不可能的任務,這些股東很可能會和吸收較高的存款利息支
出,卻只能收到較低的借款利息收入的銀行股東一樣的下場。

      All in all, the insurance business has treated us very well. We have
expanded our float at a cost that on the average is reasonable, and we
have further prospered because we have earned good returns on these
low-cost funds. Our shareholders, true, have incurred extra taxes, but
they have been more than compensated for this cost (so far) by the
benefits produced by the float.

總的來說,保險營運給我們的回報算是相當不錯的了,我們的保險浮存金以合理
的資金成本率持續增加,而靠著這些低成本的資金賺取更高的投資報酬使我們的
事業蒸蒸日上,確實我們的股東必須負擔額外的稅負,但大家從這樣低的資金成
本所獲得的利益卻補回更多(至少到目前為止是如此)。

      A particularly encouraging point about our record is that it was
achieved despite some colossal mistakes made by your Chairman prior
to Mike Goldberg's arrival. Insurance offers a host of opportunities for
error, and when opportunity knocked, too often I answered. Many
years later, the bills keep arriving for these mistakes: In the insurance
business, there is no statute of limitations on stupidity.

尤其有更令人振奮的一點,這些記錄還包含本人之前所犯下一些重大的錯誤,在
Mike Goldberg接手後,應該會有更好的成績,保險往往會有一大堆讓你發生
錯誤的機會,而通常在這些機會敲門時,我都會回應,以致於經過那麼多年之後,
到現在我們還必須為我以前所犯的那些錯誤付出代價,在保險業愚蠢的程度是沒
有上限的。

      The intrinsic value of our insurance business will always be far
more difficult to calculate than the value of, say, our candy or
newspaper companies. By any measure, however, the business is
worth far more than its carrying value. Furthermore, despite the
problems this operation periodically hands us, it is the one - among
all the fine businesses we own - that has the greatest potential.


我們保險事業的實際價值永遠比其他事業如糖果或是報紙事業難以估計,但是不
管用任何計算方法,保險事業的價值一定遠高於其帳面價值,更重要的是雖然保
險業讓我們三不五時會出狀況,但這行業卻是我們現在所有不錯的事業當中,最
有成長潛力的。


Marketable Securities

有價證券投資

Below we list our common stock holdings having a value of over
$100 million. A small portion of these investments belongs to
subsidiaries of which Berkshire owns less than 100%.


下表是我們超過一億美元以上的普通股投資,一部份的投資係屬於Berkshire關
係企業所持有)。

12/31/90

Shares Company Cost Market

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

(000s omitted)

3,000,000 Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. ............ $ 517,500 $1,377,375

46,700,000 The Coca-Cola Co. ................... 1,023,920 2,171,550

2,400,000 Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. ... 71,729 117,000

6,850,000 GEICO Corp. ......................... 45,713 1,110,556

1,727,765 The Washington Post Company ......... 9,731 342,097

5,000,000 Wells Fargo & Company ............... 289,431 289,375

Lethargy bordering on sloth remains the cornerstone of our
investment style: This year we neither bought nor sold a share of five
of our six major holdings. The exception was Wells Fargo, a
superbly-managed, high-return banking operation in which we
increased our ownership to just under 10%, the most we can own
without the approval of the Federal Reserve Board. About one-sixth of
our position was bought in 1989, the rest in 1990.

樹瀨天生特有的懶散正代表著我們的投資模式,今年我們沒有增加也沒有處分任
何持股,除了Wells Fargo這家擁有良好的經營團隊,並享有相當高的股東權益
報酬率的銀行,所以我們將持股比率增加到10%左右,這是我們可以不必向聯
準會申報的最高上限,其中六分之一是在1989年買進,剩下的部份則是在1990
年增加。

The banking business is no favorite of ours. When assets are
twenty times equity - a common ratio in this industry - mistakes that
involve only a small portion of assets can destroy a major portion of
equity. And mistakes have been the rule rather than the exception at
many major banks. Most have resulted from a managerial failing that
we described last year when discussing the "institutional imperative:"
the tendency of executives to mindlessly imitate the behavior of their
peers, no matter how foolish it may be to do so. In their lending, many
bankers played follow-the-leader with lemming-like zeal; now they
are experiencing a lemming-like fate.

銀行業並不是我們的最愛,因為這個行業的特性是資產約為股權的20倍,這代
表只要資產發生一點問題就有可能把股東權益虧光光,而偏偏大銀行出問題早已
變成是常態而非特例,許多情況是管理當局的疏失,就像是去年度我們曾提到的
系統規範-也就是經營主管會不自主的模仿其他同業的做法,不管這些行為有多
愚蠢,在從事放款業務時,許多銀行業者也都有旅鼠那種追隨領導者的行為傾
向,所以現在他們也必須承擔像旅鼠一樣的命運。

Because leverage of 20:1 magnifies the effects of managerial
strengths and weaknesses, we have no interest in purchasing shares of
a poorly-managed bank at a "cheap" price. Instead, our only interest is
in buying into well-managed banks at fair prices.

因為20比1的比率,使得所有的優勢與缺點所造成的影響對會被放大,我們對
於用便宜的價格買下經營不善的銀行一點興趣都沒有,相反地我們希望能夠以合
理的價格買進一些經營良好的銀行。

With Wells Fargo, we think we have obtained the best managers
in the business, Carl Reichardt and Paul Hazen. In many ways the
combination of Carl and Paul reminds me of another - Tom Murphy
and Dan Burke at Capital Cities/ABC. First, each pair is stronger than
the sum of its parts because each partner understands, trusts and
admires the other. Second, both managerial teams pay able people
well, but abhor having a bigger head count than is needed. Third, both
attack costs as vigorously when profits are at record levels as when
they are under pressure. Finally, both stick with what they understand
and let their abilities, not their egos, determine what they attempt.
(Thomas J. Watson Sr. of IBM followed the same rule: "I'm no genius,"
he said. "I'm smart in spots - but I stay around those spots.")

在Wells Fargo,我想我們找到銀行界最好的經理人Carl Reichardt與Paul
Hazen,在許多方面這兩個人的組合使我聯想到另外一對搭檔,那就是資本城
/ABC的Tom Murphy與Dan Burke,首先兩個人加起來的力量都大於個別單
打獨鬥,因為每個人都了解、信任並尊敬對方,其次他們對於有才能的人從不吝
嗇,但也同時厭惡冗員過多,第三儘管公司獲利再好,他們控制成本的努力不曾
稍減,最後兩者都堅持自己所熟悉的,讓他們的能力而非自尊來決定成敗,就像
IBM的Thomas Watson曾說:「我不是天才,我只是有點小聰明,不過我卻充
分運用這些小聰明。」

Our purchases of Wells Fargo in 1990 were helped by a chaotic
market in bank stocks. The disarray was appropriate: Month by month
the foolish loan decisions of once well-regarded banks were put on
public display. As one huge loss after another was unveiled - often on
the heels of managerial assurances that all was well - investors
understandably concluded that no bank's numbers were to be trusted.
Aided by their flight from bank stocks, we purchased our 10% interest
in Wells Fargo for $290 million, less than five times after-tax earnings,
and less than three times pre-tax earnings.

我們是在1990年銀行股一片混亂之間買進Wells Fargo的股份的,這種失序的
現象是很合理的,幾個月來有些原本經營名聲不錯的銀行,其錯誤的貸款決定卻
一一被媒體揭露,隨著一次又一次龐大的損失數字被公佈,銀行業的誠信與保證
也一次又一次地被踐踏,漸漸地投資人越來越不敢相信銀行的財務報表數字,趁
著大家出脫銀行股之際,我們卻逆勢以2.9億美元,五倍不到的本益比(若是以
稅前獲利計算,則本益比甚至不到三倍),買進Wells Fargo 10%的股份。

Wells Fargo is big - it has $56 billion in assets - and has been
earning more than 20% on equity and 1.25% on assets. Our purchase
of one-tenth of the bank may be thought of as roughly equivalent to
our buying 100% of a $5 billion bank with identical financial
characteristics. But were we to make such a purchase, we would have
to pay about twice the $290 million we paid for Wells Fargo. Moreover,
that $5 billion bank, commanding a premium price, would present us
with another problem: We would not be able to find a Carl Reichardt to
run it. In recent years, Wells Fargo executives have been more avidly
recruited than any others in the banking business; no one, however,
has been able to hire the dean.

Wells Fargo實在是相當的大,帳面資產高達560億美元,股東權益報酬率高
達20%,資產報酬率則為1.25%,買下他10%的股權相當於以買下一家50億
美元資產100%股權,但是真要有這樣條件的銀行,其價碼可能會是2.9億美元
的一倍以上,此外就算真的可以買得到,我們同樣也要面臨另外一個問題,那就
是找不到像Carl Reichardt這樣的人才來經營,近幾年來,從Wells Fargo出
身的經理人一直廣受各家銀行同業所歡迎,但想要請到這家銀行的老宗師可就不
是一件容易的事了。

Of course, ownership of a bank - or about any other business -
is far from riskless. California banks face the specific risk of a major
earthquake, which might wreak enough havoc on borrowers to in turn
destroy the banks lending to them. A second risk is systemic - the
possibility of a business contraction or financial panic so severe that it
would endanger almost every highly-leveraged institution, no matter
how intelligently run. Finally, the market's major fear of the moment is
that West Coast real estate values will tumble because of overbuilding
and deliver huge losses to banks that have financed the expansion.
Because it is a leading real estate lender, Wells Fargo is thought to be
particularly vulnerable.

當然擁有一家銀行的股權,或是其他企業也一樣,絕非沒有風險,像加州的銀行
就因為位於地震帶而必須承擔客戶受到大地震影響而還不出借款的風險,第二個
風險是屬於系統性的,也就是嚴重的企業蕭條或是財務風暴導致這些高財務槓桿
經營的金融機構,不管經營的再好都有相當的危機,最後市場當時主要的考慮點
是美國西岸的房地產因為供給過多而崩盤的風險,連帶使得融資給這些擴張建案
的銀行承擔鉅額的損失,而也因為Wells Fargo就是市場上最大的不動產借款銀
行,一般咸認它最容易受到傷害。

None of these eventualities can be ruled out. The probability of
the first two occurring, however, is low and even a meaningful drop in
real estate values is unlikely to cause major problems for
well-managed institutions. Consider some mathematics: Wells Fargo
currently earns well over $1 billion pre-tax annually after expensing
more than $300 million for loan losses. If 10% of all $48 billion of the
bank's loans - not just its real estate loans - were hit by problems in
1991, and these produced losses (including foregone interest)
averaging 30% of principal, the company would roughly break even.

以上所提到的風險都很難加以排除,當然第一點與第二點的可能性相當低,而且
即使是房地產大幅的下跌,對於經營績效良好的銀行也不致造成太大的問題,我
們可以簡單地算一下,Wells Fargo現在一年在提列3億美元的損失準備之後,
稅前還可以賺10億美元以上,今天假若該銀行所有的480億借款中有10%在
1991年發生問題,且估計其中有30%的本金將收不回來,必須全部轉為損失(包
含收不回來的利息),則在這種情況下,這家銀行還是可以損益兩平。

A year like that - which we consider only a low-level possibility,
not a likelihood - would not distress us. In fact, at Berkshire we would
love to acquire businesses or invest in capital projects that produced
no return for a year, but that could then be expected to earn 20% on
growing equity. Nevertheless, fears of a California real estate disaster
similar to that experienced in New England caused the price of Wells
Fargo stock to fall almost 50% within a few months during 1990. Even
though we had bought some shares at the prices prevailing before the
fall, we welcomed the decline because it allowed us to pick up many
more shares at the new, panic prices.

若是真有一年如此,雖然我們認為這種情況發生的可能性相當低,我們應該還可
以忍受,事實上在Berkshire選擇購併或是投資一家公司,頭一年不賺錢沒有關
係,只要以後每年能夠有20%的股東權益報酬率,儘管如此,加州大地震使得
投資人害怕新英格蘭地區也會有同樣的危險,導致Wells Fargo在1990年幾個
月間大跌50%以上,雖然在股價下跌前我們已買進一些股份,但股價下跌使我
們可以開心地用更低的價格撿到更多的股份。

Investors who expect to be ongoing buyers of investments
throughout their lifetimes should adopt a similar attitude toward
market fluctuations; instead many illogically become euphoric when
stock prices rise and unhappy when they fall. They show no such
confusion in their reaction to food prices: Knowing they are forever
going to be buyers of food, they welcome falling prices and deplore
price increases. (It's the seller of food who doesn't like declining
prices.) Similarly, at the Buffalo News we would cheer lower prices for
newsprint - even though it would mean marking down the value of the
large inventory of newsprint we always keep on hand - because we
know we are going to be perpetually buying the product.

以長期投資作為終生目標的投資人對於股市波動也應該採取同樣的態度,千萬不
要因為股市漲就欣喜若狂,股市跌就如喪考妣,奇怪的是他們對於食物的價格就
一點都不會搞錯,很清楚知道自己每天一定會買食物,當食物價格下跌時,他們
可高興的很,(要煩惱的應該是賣食物的人),同樣的在水牛城報紙我們期望印刷
成本能夠降低,雖然這代表我們必須將帳列的新聞印刷存貨價值向下調整,因為
我們很清楚,我們必須一直買進這些產品。

Identical reasoning guides our thinking about Berkshire's
investments. We will be buying businesses - or small parts of
businesses, called stocks - year in, year out as long as I live (and
longer, if Berkshire's directors attend the seances I have scheduled).
Given these intentions, declining prices for businesses benefit us, and
rising prices hurt us.

同樣的原則也適用在Berkshire的投資之上,只要我還健在(若我死後,Berkshire
的董事會願意透過我所安排的降神會接受我的指示,則期間或許更長久),我們
會年復一年買下企業或是企業的一部份-也就是股票,也因此企業的價格下跌對
我們會更有利,反之則可能會對我們不利。

The most common cause of low prices is pessimism - some
times pervasive, some times specific to a company or industry. We
want to do business in such an environment, not because we like
pessimism but because we like the prices it produces. It's optimism
that is the enemy of the rational buyer.

股價不振最主要的原因是悲觀的情緒,有時是全面性的,有時則僅限於部份產業
或是公司,我們很期望能夠在這種環境下做生意,不是因為我們天生喜歡悲觀,
而是如此可以得到便宜的價格買進更多好的公司,樂觀是理性投資人最大的敵
人。

None of this means, however, that a business or stock is an
intelligent purchase simply because it is unpopular; a contrarian
approach is just as foolish as a follow-the-crowd strategy. What's
required is thinking rather than polling. Unfortunately, Bertrand
Russell's observation about life in general applies with unusual force in
the financial world: "Most men would rather die than think. Many do."

當然以上所述並不代表不受歡迎或注意的股票或企業就是好的投資標的,反向操
作有可能與群眾心理一樣的愚蠢,真正重要的是獨立思考而不是投票表決,不幸
的是Bertrand Russell對於人性的觀察同樣地也適用於財務投資之上,「大多
數的人寧死也不願意去思考!」。

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Our other major portfolio change last year was large additions to
our holdings of RJR Nabisco bonds, securities that we first bought in
late 1989. At yearend 1990 we had $440 million invested in these
securities, an amount that approximated market value. (As I write this,
however, their market value has risen by more than $150 million.)

我們去年其他主要的投資組合的變動就是增加RJR Nabisco的債券,我們是在
1989年開始買進這種有價證券,到了1990年底我們的投資金額約為4.4億美
元,與目前的市價相當(不過在撰寫年報的同時,他們的市價已增加了1.5億美
元)。

Just as buying into the banking business is unusual for us, so is
the purchase of below-investment-grade bonds. But opportunities
that interest us and that are also large enough to have a worthwhile
impact on Berkshire's results are rare. Therefore, we will look at any
category of investment, so long as we understand the business we're
buying into and believe that price and value may differ significantly.
(Woody Allen, in another context, pointed out the advantage of
open-mindedness: "I can't understand why more people aren't
bi-sexual because it doubles your chances for a date on Saturday
night.")

就像我們很少買進銀行股,同樣地我們也很少買進投資等級以下的債券,不過能
夠引起我們興趣的投資機會,同時規模大到足以對Berkshire有相當影響力的投
資機會實在是不多,因此我們願意嘗試各種不同的投資工具,只要我們對於即將
買進的投資標的有相當的了解,同時價格與價值有相當大的差距(伍迪艾倫也另
一句台詞用來形容開明的好處︰「我實在不了解為什麼有那麼多人排斥雙性戀,
人們在星期六夜晚至少可以有多一倍的機會能夠約會?」)。

In the past we have bought a few below-investment-grade
bonds with success, though these were all old-fashioned "fallen
angels" - bonds that were initially of investment grade but that were
downgraded when the issuers fell on bad times. In the 1984 annual
report we described our rationale for buying one fallen angel, the
Washington Public Power Supply System.

在過去我們也曾成功地投資了好幾次投資等級以下的債券,雖然他們多是傳統上
所謂的失翼的天使,意思是指原先發行時屬於投資等級但後來因為公司出現問題
而被降等,在1984年的年報中我們也曾經提到過買進華盛頓公用電力系統債券
的原因。

A kind of bastardized fallen angel burst onto the investment
scene in the 1980s - "junk bonds" that were far below investment-
grade when issued. As the decade progressed, new offerings of
manufactured junk became ever junkier and ultimately the predictable
outcome occurred: Junk bonds lived up to their name. In 1990 - even
before the recession dealt its blows - the financial sky became dark
with the bodies of failing corporations.

不過到了1980年代大量假冒的失翼的天使充斥著整個投資界,也就是所謂的垃
圾債券,這些債券在發行時企業本身的信用評等就不佳,十幾年下來垃圾債券越
來越垃圾,最後真的變成名符其實的垃圾,到了1990年代在經濟衰退引發債權
危機之前,整個投資界的天空已佈滿著這些假冒失翼天使的屍體。

The disciples of debt assured us that this collapse wouldn't
happen: Huge debt, we were told, would cause operating managers to
focus their efforts as never before, much as a dagger mounted on the
steering wheel of a car could be expected to make its driver proceed
with intensified care. We'll acknowledge that such an attention-getter
would produce a very alert driver. But another certain consequence
would be a deadly - and unnecessary - accident if the car hit even the
tiniest pothole or sliver of ice. The roads of business are riddled with
potholes; a plan that requires dodging them all is a plan for disaster.

迷信這些債券的門徒一再強調不可能發生崩盤的危機,鉅額的債務會迫使公司經
理人更專注於經營,就像是一位駕駛開著一輛輪胎上插著一隻匕首的破車,大家
可以確定這位駕駛一定會小心翼翼地開車,當然我們絕對相信這位駕駛一定會相
當小心謹慎,但是另外卻還有一個變數必須克服,那就是只要車子碰到一個小坑
洞或是一小片雪就可能造成致命的車禍,而偏偏在商業的道路上,遍佈著各種坑
坑洞洞,一個要求必須避開所有坑洞的計畫實在是一個相當危險的計畫。

In the final chapter of The Intelligent Investor Ben Graham
forcefully rejected the dagger thesis: "Confronted with a challenge to
distill the secret of sound investment into three words, we venture the
motto, Margin of Safety." Forty-two years after reading that, I still
think those are the right three words. The failure of investors to heed
this simple message caused them staggering losses as the 1990s
began.

在葛拉罕智慧型投資人的最後一章中,很強烈地駁斥這種匕首理論,如果要將穩
健的投資濃縮成三字箴言,那就是安全邊際,在讀到這篇文章的42年後,我仍
深深相信這三個字,沒能注意到這個簡單原則的投資人在1990年代開始就會慢
慢嚐到損失的痛苦。

At the height of the debt mania, capital structures were
concocted that guaranteed failure: In some cases, so much debt was
issued that even highly favorable business results could not produce
the funds to service it. One particularly egregious "kill- 'em-at-birth"
case a few years back involved the purchase of a mature television
station in Tampa, bought with so much debt that the interest on it
exceeded the station's gross revenues. Even if you assume that all
labor, programs and services were donated rather than purchased, this
capital structure required revenues to explode - or else the station
was doomed to go broke. (Many of the bonds that financed the
purchase were sold to now-failed savings and loan associations; as a
taxpayer, you are picking up the tab for this folly.)

在債務恐慌最高點的時候,資本結構註定導致失敗的發生,有些公司的融資槓桿
高到即使是再好的企業也無法負擔,有一個特別慘、一出生就夭折的案例,就是
一個坦帕灣地方電視台的購併案,這個案子一年的利息負擔甚至還超過他一整年
的營收,也就是說即使所有的人工、節目與服務都不須成本,且營收也能有爆炸
性的成長,這家電視台還是會步上倒閉的命運,(許多債券都是由現在大多倒閉
的儲貸機構買進,所以身為納稅義務人的你,等於間接替這些愚蠢的行為買單)。

All of this seems impossible now. When these misdeeds were
done, however, dagger-selling investment bankers pointed to the
"scholarly" research of academics, which reported that over the years
the higher interest rates received from low-grade bonds had more
than compensated for their higher rate of default. Thus, said the
friendly salesmen, a diversified portfolio of junk bonds would produce
greater net returns than would a portfolio of high-grade bonds.
(Beware of past-performance "proofs" in finance: If history books
were the key to riches, the Forbes 400 would consist of librarians.)

現在看起來這種情況當然不太可能再發生,當這些錯誤的行為發生時,專門販賣
匕首的投資銀行家紛紛把責任推給學術單位,表示研究顯示低等級債券所收到的
利息收入應該可以彌補投資人所承擔可能收不回本金的風險,因此推斷說好心的
業務員所介紹給客戶的高收益債券將給客戶帶來比高等級債券更好的收益,(特
別要小心財務學上過去的統計資料實證,若歷史資料是致富之鑰,那麼富比士四
百大富豪不都應該是圖書館員嗎?)

There was a flaw in the salesmen's logic - one that a first- year
student in statistics is taught to recognize. An assumption was being
made that the universe of newly-minted junk bonds was identical to
the universe of low-grade fallen angels and that, therefore, the default
experience of the latter group was meaningful in predicting the default
experience of the new issues. (That was an error similar to checking
the historical death rate from Kool-Aid before drinking the version
served at Jonestown.)

不過這些業務員的邏輯有一個漏洞,這是統計系的新生都知道的,那就是假設所
有新發行的垃圾債券都與以前的失翼天使一樣,也就是說前者還不出本金的機率
與後者是一樣的,(這種錯誤就像是在喝Jonestown的毒藥之前,以過去的死亡
率為參考)。

The universes were of course dissimilar in several vital respects.
For openers, the manager of a fallen angel almost invariably yearned
to regain investment-grade status and worked toward that goal. The
junk-bond operator was usually an entirely different breed. Behaving
much as a heroin user might, he devoted his energies not to finding a
cure for his debt-ridden condition, but rather to finding another fix.
Additionally, the fiduciary sensitivities of the executives managing the
typical fallen angel were often, though not always, more finely
developed than were those of the junk-bond-issuing financiopath.

這個世界在許多方面當然有很大的不同,對於開拓者來說,失翼天使的經理人無
不渴望重新到投資等級的名單之上,,但是垃圾債券的經營者就全然不是那麼一
回事了,不思解決其為債務所苦的困境,反而偏好運用英雄式的行徑,尋找暫時
解脫之道,此外失翼天使忠誠的敏感特質通常比那些垃圾債券經營者要來的好的
多。

Wall Street cared little for such distinctions. As usual, the Street's
enthusiasm for an idea was proportional not to its merit, but rather to
the revenue it would produce. Mountains of junk bonds were sold by
those who didn't care to those who didn't think - and there was no
shortage of either.

華爾街對於這樣的差異根本就不在乎,通常華爾街關心的不是它到底有多少優缺
點,而是它可以產生多少收入,成千上萬的垃圾債券就是由這幫不在乎的人賣給
那些不懂得思考之人。

Junk bonds remain a mine field, even at prices that today are
often a small fraction of issue price. As we said last year, we have
never bought a new issue of a junk bond. (The only time to buy these
is on a day with no "y" in it.) We are, however, willing to look at the
field, now that it is in disarray.

即使現在垃圾債券的市場價格只有發行價格的一點點,它還是個地雷區,就像是
去年我們曾經說過的,我們從來不買新發行的垃圾債券,(唯一會買進的時點是
沒有y之時),不過趁現在市場一遍混亂,我們倒是願意花點時間看看。

In the case of RJR Nabisco, we feel the Company's credit is
considerably better than was generally perceived for a while and that
the yield we receive, as well as the potential for capital gain, more than
compensates for the risk we incur (though that is far from nil). RJR has
made asset sales at favorable prices, has added major amounts of
equity, and in general is being run well.

在RJR Nabisco這個案子我們認為這家公司的債信要比外界想像中好一點,同
時我們感覺潛在的利益,應該可以彌補我們要承擔的風險(雖然絕非無風險),RJR
資產處份的價格還算不錯,股東權益增加了許多,現在經營也漸上軌道了。

However, as we survey the field, most low-grade bonds still look
unattractive. The handiwork of the Wall Street of the 1980s is even
worse than we had thought: Many important businesses have been
mortally wounded. We will, though, keep looking for opportunities as
the junk market continues to unravel.

然而在我們看了市場以後發現,大部分低等級的債券還是不具吸引力,華爾街
1980年代的技術比我們想像中差多了,許多重要生意都大受影響,不過我們還
是會繼續在垃圾債券市場中尋找好的投資機會。


Convertible Preferred Stocks

可轉換特別股

      We continue to hold the convertible preferred stocks described in
earlier reports: $700 million of Salomon Inc, $600 million of The
Gillette Company, $358 million of USAir Group, Inc. and $300 million
of Champion International Corp. Our Gillette holdings will be
converted into 12 million shares of common stock on April 1.
Weighing interest rates, credit quality and prices of the related
common stocks, we can assess our holdings in Salomon and
Champion at yearend 1990 as worth about what we paid, Gillette as
worth somewhat more, and USAir as worth substantially less.

我們持續持有先前向各位報告過的可轉換特別股,包括所羅門7億美金、吉列6
億美金、美國航空3.58億美金與冠軍企業3億美金。我們吉列的特別股將會在
4月1日轉換為1,200萬股的普通股,在衡量利率、債信與普通股的價格之後,
我們可以確信在所羅門與冠軍企業的投資現值應該與我們當初的成本差不多,吉
列的價值比成本高,至於美國航空的價值則遠低於當初的投資成本。


     In making the USAir purchase, your Chairman displayed exquisite
timing: I plunged into the business at almost the exact moment that it
ran into severe problems. (No one pushed me; in tennis parlance, I
committed an "unforced error.") The company's troubles were brought
on both by industry conditions and by the post-merger difficulties it
encountered in integrating Piedmont, an affliction I should have
expected since almost all airline mergers have been followed by
operational turmoil.

在投資美國航空時,本人在下我真是抓對了時點,我幾乎是在航空業爆發嚴重的
問題之前,跳進去這個產業,(沒有人強迫我,如同在網球場上,我把它形容做
是非受迫性失誤),美國航空問題的發生,導因於產業本身的狀況與對Piedmont
購併後所產生的後遺症,這點我應該要早該預料到,因為幾乎所有的航空業購併
案最後的結果都是一團混亂。

      In short order, Ed Colodny and Seth Schofield resolved the second
problem: The airline now gets excellent marks for service.
Industry-wide problems have proved to be far more serious. Since our
purchase, the economics of the airline industry have deteriorated at an
alarming pace, accelerated by the kamikaze pricing tactics of certain
carriers. The trouble this pricing has produced for all carriers
illustrates an important truth: In a business selling a commodity-type
product, it's impossible to be a lot smarter than your dumbest
competitor.

在這不久之後,Ed Colodny與Seth Schofield解決了第二個難題,美國航空現
在的服務受到好評,不過整個產業所面臨的問題卻越來越嚴重,自從我們開始投
資之後,航空業的狀況便很急遽地惡化,尤其再加上某些業者自殺性的殺價競
爭,這樣的結果導致所有的航空業者都面臨一項殘酷的事實,在銷售制式化商品
的產業之中,你很難比最笨的競爭對手聰明到哪裡去。

      However, unless the industry is decimated during the next few
years, our USAir investment should work out all right. Ed and Seth
have decisively addressed the current turbulence by making major
changes in operations. Even so, our investment is now less secure than
at the time I made it.

不過除非在未來幾年內,航空業全面地崩潰,否則我們在美國航空的投資應該能
夠確保安全無虞,Ed與Seth很果決地在營運上做了一些重大的改變來解決目前
營運所面臨的問題,雖然如此,我們的投資現在的情況比起當初還是差了一點。

      Our convertible preferred stocks are relatively simple securities,
yet I should warn you that, if the past is any guide, you may from time
to time read inaccurate or misleading statements about them. Last
year, for example, several members of the press calculated the value
of all our preferreds as equal to that of the common stock into which
they are convertible. By their logic, that is, our Salomon preferred,
convertible into common at $38, would be worth 60% of face value if
Salomon common were selling at $22.80. But there is a small problem
with this line of reasoning: Using it, one must conclude that all of the
value of a convertible preferred resides in the conversion privilege and
that the value of a non-convertible preferred of Salomon would be
zero, no matter what its coupon or terms for redemption.

我們的可轉換特別股算是相當單純的投資工具,不過我還是必須警告各位,若是
過去的經驗有任何參考價值,大家可能還是會讀到一些不正確或是誤導的訊息,
舉例來說像去年,有幾家報章雜誌錯誤地將它們的價值與可以轉換的普通股價格
混為一談,我們的所羅門特別股轉換價格為38美元,根據它們的邏輯,由於所
羅門普通股的現價為22.8美元,所以其可轉換特別股的價值只有面額的60%,
但這樣的推論卻有一個盲點,因為這樣的說法表示所有的可轉換特別股,其價值
只在其所擁有的轉換權利,至於所羅門不可轉換的債券價值則為零,不管它所擁
有的贖回條件為何。

      The point you should keep in mind is that most of the value of our
convertible preferreds is derived from their fixed-income
characteristics. That means the securities cannot be worth less than
the value they would possess as non-convertible preferreds and may
be worth more because of their conversion options.

大家必須特別記住的一點是我們可轉換特別股大部分的價值其實是來自於固定
收益的特性,這意思是說這些有價證券的價值不可能低於一般不具轉換權的特別
股,相反地會因為它們擁有可轉換的選擇權而具有更高的價值。

* * * * * * * * * * * *

      I deeply regret having to end this section of the report with a note
about my friend, Colman Mockler, Jr., CEO of Gillette, who died in
January. No description better fitted Colman than "gentleman" - a
word signifying integrity, courage and modesty. Couple these qualities
with the humor and exceptional business ability that Colman
possessed and you can understand why I thought it an undiluted
pleasure to work with him and why I, and all others who knew him, will
miss Colman so much.

很遺憾我必須在報告末段以我的好朋友Colman Mockler-吉列的CEO在今年
一月過世做為結尾,除了「紳士」這個代表品格、勇氣與謙和的字,沒有其他字
更能貼切形容Colman這個人,除了這些特質之外,再加上他所擁有的幽默與
超凡的經營能力,所以大家應該可以想像與他共事是多麼令人感到愉快的一件
事,這也是為何包含我在內的許多人,會對他感到特別懷念的緣故。

      A few days before Colman died, Gillette was richly praised in a
Forbes cover story. Its theme was simple: The company's success in
shaving products has come not from marketing savvy (though it
exhibits that talent repeatedly) but has instead resulted from its
devotion to quality. This mind-set has caused it to consistently focus
its energies on coming up with something better, even though its
existing products already ranked as the class of the field. In so
depicting Gillette, Forbes in fact painted a portrait of Colman.


在Colman死之前幾天,吉列受到富比士以封面故事大加讚揚,標題很簡單,
這家公司在刮鬍刀產業的成功,不單單只靠行銷手段(雖然他們一再展現這方面
的能力),同時更源自於他們對於品質的追求,這種心理建設使得他們持續將精
力擺在推出更新更好的產品之上,雖然現有的產品已是市場上最經典的,富比士
對於吉列的形容,就好像是在描述Colman本人一樣。


Help! Help!

救命!救命!

      Regular readers know that I shamelessly utilize the annual letter in
an attempt to acquire businesses for Berkshire. And, as we constantly
preach at the Buffalo News, advertising does work: Several businesses
have knocked on our door because someone has read in these pages
of our interest in making acquisitions. (Any good ad salesman will tell
you that trying to sell something without advertising is like winking at
a girl in the dark.)

熟悉的讀者都知道我經常利用年報不顧廉恥地替Berkshire尋找合適的投資標
的,此外我們也常常在水牛城報紙刊登廣告徵求投資標的,而如此的宣傳做法確
實也收到效果,有好幾家企業收到我們相關的訊息後,上門前來(任何好的業務
銷售人員都會告訴你不靠廣告賣東西就好像是在黑夜裡對於女孩扎眼一樣沒有
用)。

      In Appendix B (on pages 26-27) I've reproduced the essence of a
letter I wrote a few years back to the owner/manager of a desirable
business. If you have no personal connection with a business that
might be of interest to us but have a friend who does, perhaps you can
pass this report along to him.

附錄B是我回信給一位可能的賣方的摘要,若是你知道那家企業可能會是我們有
興趣的標的,同時你有認識的朋友在那家企業,歡迎你直接將這份資料送給他參
考。

      Here's the sort of business we are looking for:

     (1) Large purchases (at least $10 million of after-tax earnings),

     (2) Demonstrated consistent earning power (future projections are
of little interest to us, nor are "turnaround" situations),

     (3) Businesses earning good returns on equity while employing
little or no debt,

     (4) Management in place (we can't supply it),

     (5) Simple businesses (if there's lots of technology, we won't
understand it),

     (6) An offering price (we don't want to waste our time or that of
the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price
is unknown).

 

以下就是我們想要找的企業條件

(1)鉅額交易(每年稅後盈餘至少有一千萬美元)
(2)持續穩定獲利(我們對有遠景或具轉機的公司沒興趣)
(3)高股東報酬率(並且甚少舉債)
(4)具備管理階層(我們無法提供)
(5)簡單的企業(若牽涉到太多高科技,我們弄不懂)
(6)合理的價格(在價格不確定前,我們不希望浪費自己與對方太多時間)


      We will not engage in unfriendly takeovers. We can promise
complete confidentiality and a very fast answer - customarily within
five minutes - as to whether we're interested. We prefer to buy for
cash, but will consider issuing stock when we receive as much in
intrinsic business value as we give.

 

我們不會進行敵意的購併,並承諾完全保密並儘快答覆是否感興趣(通常不超過
五分鐘) ,我們傾向採現金交易,除非我們所換得的內含價值跟我們付出的一樣
多,否則不考慮發行股份。

      Our favorite form of purchase is one fitting the Blumkin-
Friedman-Heldman mold. In cases like these, the company's owner-
managers wish to generate significant amounts of cash, sometimes for
themselves, but often for their families or inactive shareholders. At the
same time, these managers wish to remain significant owners who
continue to run their companies just as they have in the past. We think
we offer a particularly good fit for owners with such objectives. We
invite potential sellers to check us out by contacting people with whom
we have done business in the past.


我們最喜歡的交易對象之一是像B太太- Heldman家族那樣,公司經營者希望
能馬上有一大筆現金,不管是給自己、家人或是其他股東,最好這些經營者如往
常一樣能夠繼續留在公司,我想我們可以提供具有以上想法的經營者,一個滿意
的方式,我們也歡迎可能的賣方與那些過去與我們合作過的對象打聽。

      Charlie and I frequently get approached about acquisitions that
don't come close to meeting our tests: We've found that if you
advertise an interest in buying collies, a lot of people will call hoping
to sell you their cocker spaniels. A line from a country song expresses
our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales:
"When the phone don't ring, you'll know it's me."

另一方面查理跟我也常常接到一些不符合我們條件的詢問,包括新事業、轉機
股、拍賣案以及最常見的仲介案。我們發現如果你登廣告要買牧羊犬,結果卻有
一大堆人打電話來要賣你長耳獵犬,對於這類的事業,有首鄉村歌曲其中的一句
歌詞最能描述我們的感覺,「若電話不響,你就知道那是我」。

      Besides being interested in the purchase of businesses as
described above, we are also interested in the negotiated purchase of
large, but not controlling, blocks of stock comparable to those we hold
in Capital Cities, Salomon, Gillette, USAir, and Champion. We are not
interested, however, in receiving suggestions about purchases we
might make in the general stock market.

除了以上買下整家公司的購併案外,我們也會考慮買進一大部份不具控制權的股
份,就像我們在資本城、所羅門、吉列、美國航空與冠軍企業這幾個Case一樣
的公司,不過對於一般直接從股票市場上買進股份的建議我們,則一點興趣都沒
有。


Miscellaneous

其他事項

      Ken Chace has decided not to stand for reelection as a director at
our upcoming annual meeting. We have no mandatory retirement age
for directors at Berkshire (and won't!), but Ken, at 75 and living in
Maine, simply decided to cut back his activities.

Ken Chace決定從今年股東會起不再擔任本公司的董事,在Berkshire我們沒
有強制董事退休的年齡限制(以後絕對也不會有),但是住在緬因州75歲的Ken
還是決定減少自己在Berkshire的活動量。

      Ken was my immediate choice to run the textile operation after
Buffett Partnership, Ltd. assumed control of Berkshire early in 1965.
Although I made an economic mistake in sticking with the textile
business, I made no mistake in choosing Ken: He ran the operation
well, he was always 100% straight with me about its problems, and he
generated the funds that allowed us to diversify into insurance.

Ken是我在1965年透過巴菲特合夥入主Berkshire時,選擇經營紡織事業的
第一人選,雖然我在堅持紡織事業繼續經營上做了錯誤的決策,但選擇Ken卻
是正確的決定,他把公司經營的非常好,對於所面臨的問題也是百分之百地坦
誠,更重要的是他產生出足夠讓我們進軍保險業的資金。

      My wife, Susan, will be nominated to succeed Ken. She is now the
second largest shareholder of Berkshire and if she outlives me will
inherit all of my stock and effectively control the company. She knows,
and agrees, with my thoughts on successor management and also
shares my view that neither Berkshire nor its subsidiary businesses
and important investments should be sold simply because some very
high bid is received for one or all.

我的內人Susan將會被提名接替Ken擔任董事,她個人現在是Berkshire第二
大股東,而且要是她活的比我久的話,還會繼承我個人所持有的股份,進而取得
公司的控制權,她明瞭也完全同意我個人對於可能接替人選的想法,同時也認同
不管是Berkshire本身或是旗下事業與主要的投資,都不會單純地因為有人出高
價要買,便輕易地對外出售。

      I feel strongly that the fate of our businesses and their managers
should not depend on my health - which, it should be added, is
excellent - and I have planned accordingly. Neither my estate plan nor
that of my wife is designed to preserve the family fortune; instead,
both are aimed at preserving the character of Berkshire and returning
the fortune to society.

我強烈地感覺Berkshire企業與經理人的命運不應該依賴在我個人的健康之
上,當然若是因此可以加分會更好,為此我已做好的萬全的計畫,不管是我個人
或是我內人的遺囑都不打算將這些財產留給家族,相反地重點會放在如何保持
Berkshire的特質,並將所有的財富回歸給社會。

      Were I to die tomorrow, you could be sure of three things: (1)
None of my stock would have to be sold; (2) Both a controlling
shareholder and a manager with philosophies similar to mine would
follow me; and (3) Berkshire's earnings would increase by $1 million
annually, since Charlie would immediately sell our corporate jet, The
Indefensible (ignoring my wish that it be buried with me).


所以萬一要是明天我突然死了,大家可以確定三件事(1)我在Berkshire的股份,
一股都不會賣(2)繼承我的所有權人與經理人一定會遵循我的投資哲學
(3)Berkshire的盈餘會因為出售我個人的專用飛機-無可辯解號,每年可增加
100萬美元(不要管我希望讓她陪葬的遺願)。


* * * * * * * * * * * *

      About 97.3% of all eligible shares participated in Berkshire's 1990
shareholder-designated contributions program. Contributions made
through the program were $5.8 million, and 2,600 charities were
recipients.


大約有97.3%的有效股權參與1990年的股東指定捐贈計劃,總計約580萬美
元捐出的款項分配給2,600家慈善機構。

      We suggest that new shareholders read the description of our
shareholder-designated contributions program that appears on pages
54-55. To participate in future programs, you must make sure your
shares are registered in the name of the actual owner, not in the
nominee name of a broker, bank or depository. Shares not so
registered on August 31, 1991 will be ineligible for the 1991 program.

我們敦促新加入的股東,仔細閱讀年報上有關股東捐贈計畫的詳細內容,如果在
未來年度內,你想要參加這類的計畫,我們強烈建議你將股份登記在自己而不是
受託人的名下,必須在1991年8月31日之前完成登記,才有權利參與1991
年的捐贈計畫。

      In addition to the shareholder-designated contributions that
Berkshire distributes, managers of our operating businesses make
contributions, including merchandise, averaging about $1.5 million
annually. These contributions support local charities, such as The
United Way, and produce roughly commensurate benefits for our
businesses.


Berkshire除了透過股東指定捐贈計畫對外捐贈之外,我們旗下事業的經理人每
年也會透過公司對外捐贈,包含商品在內每年平均金額約在150萬美元左右。
這些捐贈主要是贊助當地像是聯合勸募等慈善團體,所得的效益應該與我們所捐
出的相當。

      However, neither our operating managers nor officers of the
parent company use Berkshire funds to make contributions to broad
national programs or charitable activities of special personal interest
to them, except to the extent they do so as shareholders. If your
employees, including your CEO, wish to give to their alma maters or
other institutions to which they feel a personal attachment, we believe
they should use their own money, not yours.


然而不管是旗下事業或是母公司的經理人在利用Berkshire的資金對外捐贈給
全國性組織或特別利益團體時,都是以站在股東利益立場所應該做的,相對地若
是你的員工也包含CEO在內,想要與其校友會或其他人建立個人關係的,我們
認為他們最好是用自己的錢,而不是從你的口袋裡掏錢。


* * * * * * * * * * * *

      The annual meeting this year will be held at the Orpheum Theater
in downtown Omaha at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 29, 1991.
Attendance last year grew to a record 1,300, about a 100-fold
increase from ten years ago.

今年的股東會預計在1991年4月29日,星期一早上9點30分舉行在
Orpheum中心召開,去年股東會參加人數突破1,300人,大概是十年前的一
百倍。

      We recommend getting your hotel reservations early at one of
these hotels: (1) The Radisson-Redick Tower, a small (88 rooms) but
nice hotel across the street from the Orpheum; (2) the much larger Red
Lion Hotel, located about a five-minute walk from the Orpheum; or (3)
the Marriott, located in West Omaha about 100 yards from Borsheim's
and a twenty minute drive from downtown. We will have buses at the
Marriott that will leave at 8:30 and 8:45 for the meeting, and return
after it ends.

我們建議大家最好先向以下旅館預訂房間(1)Radisson-Redick旅館-就位在
Orpheum中心對街擁有88個房間的一家小旅館(2)較大一點的Red Lion旅館
-離Orpheum中心約五分鐘路程,或是(3)Marriott位在奧瑪哈西區,離波仙珠
寶店約100公尺,開車到市中心約需20分鐘,屆時將會有巴士接送大家往返
股東會會場。

      Charlie and I always enjoy the meeting, and we hope you can
make it. The quality of our shareholders is reflected in the quality of
the questions we get: We have never attended an annual meeting
anywhere that features such a consistently high level of intelligent,
owner-related questions.

查理跟我一直都很喜歡開股東會,我也希望大家能夠來參加,我們股東的素質可
由大家所提出的問題看得出來,我們參加過很多股東會,但從來沒有別的公司的
股東像Berkshire的股東一樣由高智慧水準與經營者榮枯與共的股東組合。

      An attachment to our proxy material explains how you can obtain
the card you will need for admission to the meeting. Because weekday
parking can be tight around the Orpheum, we have lined up a number
of nearby lots for our shareholders to use. The attachment also
contains information about them.

後面附有股東會開會投票的相關資料,跟各位解釋如何拿到入場所許的識別證,
因為開會當天會場不好停車,我們特地為大家預留了一些位置,附件也有相關說
明供大家參考。

      As usual, we will have buses to take you to Nebraska Furniture
Mart and Borsheim's after the meeting and to take you to downtown
hotels or to the airport later. I hope that you will allow plenty of time
to fully explore the attractions of both stores. Those of you arriving
early can visit the Furniture Mart any day of the week; it is open from
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on
Sundays. While there, stop at the See's Candy cart and see for yourself
the dawn of synergism at Berkshire.

一如往常,會後我們備有巴士帶大家到內布拉斯加傢具店與波仙珠寶店或是到飯
店與機場,我希望大家能有多一點的時間好好探索這兩家店的奧妙,當然早幾天
到的股東也可利用假日逛逛傢具店,星期六從早上10點到下午5點30分,星
期日則從中午開到下午5點30分,到那裡時記得到喜斯糖果攤逛逛,看看
Berkshire企業綜效的初步成果。

      Borsheim's normally is closed on Sunday, but we will open for
shareholders and their guests from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 28.
At our Sunday opening last year you made Ike very happy: After
totaling the day's volume, he suggested to me that we start holding
annual meetings quarterly. Join us at Borsheim's even if you just come
to watch; it's a show you shouldn't miss.

波仙星期天通常不開門營業,但在股東會期間特別破例,4月28日星期天從中
午開到下午6點,去年由於大家的賣力表現讓Ike相當的開心,在看過那天的業
績數字之後,他建議我們最好能夠每一季都召開股東會,今年記得到波仙去看
看,就算不買也沒有關係,那是一場你不能錯過的秀。

      Last year the first question at the annual meeting was asked by
11-year-old Nicholas Kenner, a third-generation shareholder from
New York City. Nicholas plays rough: "How come the stock is down?"
he fired at me. My answer was not memorable.

去年股東會第一個問題是由來自紐約11歲的Nicholas Kenner所提出,他們
一家三代都是Berkshire的股東,一開場Nicholas就來硬的,:「為什麼股價
會下跌?」面對如此強大的火力,我的回答卻不甚了了。

      We hope that other business engagements won't keep Nicholas
away from this year's meeting. If he attends, he will be offered the
chance to again ask the first question; Charlie and I want to tackle him
while we're fresh. This year, however, it's Charlie's turn to answer.


我希望今年Nicholas最好有其他的事要忙,不要來參加今年的股東會,若他真
的出席了,他可能有機會再提出第一個問題,查理跟我都希望盡量不要碰到他,
還好今年輪到查理先回答。

March 1, 1991

Warren E. Buffett
Chairman of the Board

華倫.巴菲特

董事會主席

1991年3月1日

 

  APPENDIX A


U. S. STEEL ANNOUNCES SWEEPING MODERNIZATION SCHEME*


* An unpublished satire by Ben Graham, written in 1936 and given by the author to Warren Buffett in 1954.




附錄A

美國鋼鐵公司宣佈全面更新計畫

本文是葛拉罕於1936年所寫未對外公開的諷刺性文章,由巴菲特於1954年提供

           Myron C. Taylor, Chairman of U. S. Steel Corporation, today
announced the long awaited plan for completely modernizing the
world's largest industrial enterprise. Contrary to expectations, no
changes will be made in the company's manufacturing or selling
policies. Instead, the bookkeeping system is to be entirely revamped.
By adopting and further improving a number of modern accounting
and financial devices the corporation's earning power will be
amazingly transformed. Even under the subnormal conditions of 1935,
it is estimated that the new bookkeeping methods would have yielded
a reported profit of close to $50 per share on the common stock. The
scheme of improvement is the result of a comprehensive survey made
by Messrs. Price, Bacon, Guthrie & Colpitts; it includes the following
six points:

Myron C. Taylor-美國鋼鐵公司的董事長,今天宣佈令人期待已久,有關全世
界最大的製造公司的全面更新計畫,與預期相反的,公司的製造或是銷售政策全
部沒有變動,反而是會計帳務系統做了大幅度的調整,在採取一系列最新最好的
現代會計與財務措施之後,公司的獲利能力因而大幅增進,即使是在景氣不佳的
1935年,在採用新的會計制度下,估計每股盈餘還是可以達到50美元的水準,
這項改造計畫是經由Messrs等人經過廣泛的研究調查後制定的,其中主要包含
六大點:

      1. Writing down of Plant Account to Minus $1,000,000,000.

     2. Par value of common stock to be reduced to 1¢.

     3. Payment of all wages and salaries in option warrants.

     4. Inventories to be carried at $1.

     5. Preferred Stock to be replaced by non-interest bearing bonds
redeemable at 50% discount.

     6. A $1,000,000,000 Contingency Reserve to be established.

(1)將廠房價值減少到負的10億美元

(2)普通股每股面額減到一美分

(3)以認股權的方式支付所有的薪水與獎金

(4)存貨的帳面價值減為1美元

(5)原有特別股改成不必馬上支付利息50%折價發行的公司債

(6)建立10億美元的或有準備

      The official statement of this extraordinary Modernization Plan
follows in full:

以下就是這項全面更新計畫的官方完整聲明

      The Board of Directors of U. S. Steel Corporation is pleased to
announce that after intensive study of the problems arising from
changed conditions in the industry, it has approved a comprehensive
plan for remodeling the Corporation's accounting methods. A survey
by a Special Committee, aided and abetted by Messrs. Price, Bacon,
Guthrie & Colpitts, revealed that our company has lagged somewhat
behind other American business enterprises in utilizing certain
advanced bookkeeping methods, by means of which the earning power
may be phenomenally enhanced without requiring any cash outlay or
any changes in operating or sales conditions. It has been decided not
only to adopt these newer methods, but to develop them to a still
higher stage of perfection. The changes adopted by the Board may be
summarized under six heads, as follows:

美國鋼鐵公司的董事會很高興向大家宣佈,在經過對產業界所面臨的問題廣泛地
研究之後,我們已經核准了一項重新塑造公司會計制度的方案,一項由特別委員
會主導並經Messrs等人協助之下完成的調查顯示,我們公司在運用最先進的會
計制度方面遠遠落後於其他美國企業,透過這樣的做法,公司不必負擔額外的支
出、營業與銷售政策也不必改變,就可以不費吹灰之力地大大改善獲利能力,所
以大家一致決定不但要立即跟進採用,而且還要將這項技術發展到淋漓盡致的境
界,董事會所採用的做法,主要可以歸納為以下六點:

1. Fixed Assets to be written down to Minus $1,000,000,000.

固定資產減為負的10億美元

      Many representative companies have relieved their income
accounts of all charges for depreciation by writing down their plant
account to $1. The Special Committee points out that if their plants
are worth only $1, the fixed assets of U. S. Steel Corporation are worth
a good deal less than that sum. It is now a well-recognized fact that
many plants are in reality a liability rather than an asset, entailing not
only depreciation charges, but taxes, maintenance, and other
expenditures. Accordingly, the Board has decided to extend the
write-down policy initiated in the 1935 report, and to mark down the
Fixed Assets from $1,338,522,858.96 to a round Minus
$1,000,000,000.

許多代表公司都已將其帳列廠房價值減為象徵性的1美元,好讓其損益表免於
折舊費用沈重的負擔,特別委員會指出如果它們的廠房只值1美元,那麼美國
鋼鐵的的固定資產比起它們來說還要少很多,事實上近來大家都承認一項事實,
許多廠房對公司來說實際上是一種負債而不是資產,除了要攤提折舊之外,還要
負擔稅金、維修及其他開支,因此董事會決定要從1935年開始將資產打銷,從
原先帳列1,338,522,858.96美元減少為負的1,000,000,000美元。

      The advantages of this move should be evident. As the plant wears
out, the liability becomes correspondingly reduced. Hence, instead of
the present depreciation charge of some $47,000,000 yearly there will
be an annual appreciation credit of 5%, or $50,000,000. This will
increase earnings by no less than $97,000,000 per annum.

這樣做法的效益相當明顯,隨著工廠逐漸折減,所代表的負債也相對地減少,因
此以往每年4,700萬的折舊費用不但可以免除,以後每年還可以有5,000萬美
元的折舊利益,一來一往等於讓公司的獲利至少增加9,700萬美元。

2. Reduction of Par Value of Common Stock to 1¢, and

將普通股面額減少到1美分。

3. Payment of Salaries and Wages in Option Warrants.

所有的薪資與獎金一律以認股權的方式發放。

      Many corporations have been able to reduce their overhead
expenses substantially by paying a large part of their executive
salaries in the form of options to buy stock, which carry no charge
against earnings. The full possibilities of this modern device have
apparently not been adequately realized. The Board of Directors has
adopted the following advanced form of this idea:

許多企業早已將本來應該支付給經營主管薪水獎金的大筆支出改以不必認列費
用的股票認股權方式取代,這種現代化的創新做法很明顯地還沒有被充分運用,
所以董事會決定採取一項更先進的做法。

      The entire personnel of the Corporation are to receive their
compensation in the form of rights to buy common stock at $50 per
share, at the rate of one purchase right for each $50 of salary and/or
wages in their present amounts. The par value of the common stock is
to be reduced to 1¢.

企業所有的員工將發給認購價為50美元的認股權作為薪資的替代,而普通股面
額則減少到1美分。

      The almost incredible advantages of this new plan are evident
from the following:

這項計畫很明顯的有下列好處:

      A. The payroll of the Corporation will be entirely eliminated, a
saving of $250,000,000 per annum, based on 1935 operations.


A公司將不再有任何的薪資支出,參考1935年的情況,每年估計將因此省下
2.5億美元。

      B. At the same time, the effective compensation of all our
employees will be increased severalfold. Because of the large earnings
per share to be shown on our common stock under the new methods,
it is certain that the shares will command a price in the market far
above the option level of $50 per share, making the readily realizable
value of these option warrants greatly in excess of the present cash
wages that they will replace.

B同時,所有員工的報酬將因此增加好幾倍,因為在新的會計原則之下公司帳上
顯示的每股盈餘將因此大增,從而使得公司的股價遠高於認股權所設定的50美
元認購價,於是所有的員工都將因為認股權的行使而受惠,所得到的報酬將遠比
他們原來領的現金收入要高的多。

      C. The Corporation will realize an additional large annual profit
through the exercise of these warrants. Since the par value of the
common stock will be fixed at 1¢, there will be a gain of $49.99 on
each share subscribed for. In the interest of conservative accounting,
however, this profit will not be included in the income account, but will
be shown separately as a credit to Capital Surplus.

C透過這些認股權的行使,公司因此還可以實現額外特別的年度利益,而由於我
們將普通股面額設定為1美分,因此每認購一股便能產生49.99美元的利益,
雖然就會計學保守的立場,這些利益可能無法顯現在損益表之上,但卻可以在資
產負債表上以資本溢價的方式單獨列示。

      D. The Corporation's cash position will be enormously
strengthened. In place of the present annual cash outgo of
$250,000,000 for wages (1935 basis), there will be annual cash inflow
of $250,000,000 through exercise of the subscription warrants for
5,000,000 shares of common stock. The Company's large earnings
and strong cash position will permit the payment of a liberal dividend
which, in turn, will result in the exercise of these option warrants
immediately after issuance which, in turn, will further improve the cash
position which, in turn, will permit a higher dividend rate -- and so on,
indefinitely.

D企業的現金部位也會因此大大地增強,每年不但不再有2.5億美元的薪資流
出,透過行使500萬股認股權的做法,每年還可以創造2.5億美元的現金流入,
公司驚人的獲利能力加上堅強的現金部位將使得我們可以隨心所欲地配發股
利,然後我們又可以透過行使認股權的方式補強現金實力,之後又可以有更高的
配股能力,如此一直循環下去。

4. Inventories to be carried at $1.

4.帳列存貨價值調為1美元

      Serious losses have been taken during the depression due to the
necessity of adjusting inventory value to market. Various enterprises
-- notably in the metal and cotton-textile fields -- have successfully
dealt with this problem by carrying all or part of their inventories at
extremely low unit prices. The U. S. Steel Corporation has decided to
adopt a still more progressive policy, and to carry its entire inventory
at $1. This will be effected by an appropriate write-down at the end of
each year, the amount of said write-down to be charged to the
Contingency Reserve hereinafter referred to.

在經濟衰退時因為必須將存貨價值調整至市價,公司可能會因此蒙受鉅額的損
失,因此許多公司,尤其是鋼鐵與紡織公司紛紛將其帳列存貨價值壓到相當低的
程度,而成功地解決這方面的問題,有鑑於此美國鋼鐵公司決定採用一種更積極
的做法,打算將存貨價值一舉壓低到1美元的最低限度,在每年底都會進行這
樣的動作,將存貨予以調整,差異的數字則全部擺到前面所提到的或有準備科目
項下。

      The benefits to be derived from this new method are very great.
Not only will it obviate all possibility of inventory depreciation, but it
will substantially enhance the annual earnings of the Corporation. The
inventory on hand at the beginning of the year, valued at $1, will be
sold during the year at an excellent profit. It is estimated that our
income will be increased by means of this method to the extent of at
least $150,000,000 per annum which, by a coincidence, will about
equal the amount of the write-down to be made each year against
Contingency Reserve.


這種新做法的好處相當的大,不但可以消除存貨耗損的可能性,同時也可大大地
增進公司每年的獲利能力,每年初存貨因為帳列價值只有1美元,所以將因出
售而獲得大筆的利益,經估計透過這種新會計方法的運用將可使我們每年至少增
加1.5億美元的收益,而碰巧的是這個數字與我們每年沖銷的或許準備金額相
當。

      A minority report of the Special Committee recommends that
Accounts Receivable and Cash also be written down to $1, in the
interest of consistency and to gain additional advantages similar to
those just discussed. This proposal has been rejected for the time
being because our auditors still require that any recoveries of
receivables and cash so charged off be credited to surplus instead of
to the year's income. It is expected, however, that this auditing rule --
which is rather reminiscent of the horse-and-buggy days -- will soon
be changed in line with modern tendencies. Should this occur, the
minority report will be given further and favorable consideration.

特別委員會的一項報告建議為了維持一致性,應收帳款與約當現金最好也能夠將
帳面數字調整為1美元,同時也一樣可以有先前所提的好處,但這樣子的提案
現在被駁回,因為我們的簽證會計師認為,任何應收帳款或約當現金若沖回,最
好還是先貸記原有科目,而不是直接作為損益表上的收入,但是我們也預期這種
老掉牙的會計原則應該很快會更新,好與現代趨勢做接軌,而等新原則一通過之
後,我們一定會馬上將這份報告的建議列為優先執行的方案。

5. Replacement of Preferred Stock by Non-Interest-Bearing Bonds
Redeemable at 50% Discount.

5.將現有特別股改成不必馬上支付利息50%折價發行的公司債。

      During the recent depression many companies have been able to
offset their operating losses by including in income profits arising
from repurchases of their own bonds at a substantial discount from
par. Unfortunately the credit of U. S. Steel Corporation has always
stood so high that this lucrative source of revenue has not hitherto
been available to it. The Modernization Scheme will remedy this
condition.

過去許多公司在面臨景氣不佳的時候,大都利用買回自己原先發行大幅折價的債
券來彌補其營業上的損失,不幸的是由於美國鋼鐵公司的債信一向都還算不錯,
所以沒有類似這樣的油水可以趁機撈一筆,但現代更新計畫解決了這樣的難題。

      It is proposed that each share of preferred stock be exchanged for
$300 face value of non-interest-bearing sinking-fund notes,
redeemable by lot at 50% of face value in 10 equal annual installments.
This will require the issuance of $1,080,000,000 of new notes, of
which $108,000,000 will be retired each year at a cost to the
Corporation of only $54,000,000, thus creating an annual profit of the
same amount.

報告建議原先發行的每一股特別股全部換成面額300美元不必支付利息的債
券,並且可分為十期以面額的50%贖回,總計將要發行面額10.8億美元的債券,
每年有1.08億美元到期,並由公司以5,400萬美元的價格贖回,同時公司每年
將可因此增加5,400萬美元的獲利。

      Like the wage-and/or-salary plan described under 3. above, this
arrangement will benefit both the Corporation and its preferred
stockholders. The latter are assured payment for their present shares
at 150% of par value over an average period of five years. Since
short-term securities yield practically no return at present, the
non-interest-bearing feature is of no real importance. The Corporation
will convert its present annual charge of $25,000,000 for preferred
dividends into an annual bond-retirement profit of $54,000,000 -- an
aggregate yearly gain of $79,000,000.

就像是第3條所述的薪資獎金計畫,這樣的安排將可以讓公司與其特別股股東
一體受惠,後者可以確定在五年內收回現有特別股面額的150%,因為短期的有
價證券實在是沒有多少報酬率,所以不必付息的特點算是無關緊要,如此一來公
司每年將可以減少2,500萬的特別股股息,再加上每年多出5,400萬美元的獲
利,加總之後將可獲得每年7,900萬的利益。

6. Establishment of a Contingency Reserve of $1,000,000,000.

     The Directors are confident that the improvements hereinbefore
described will assure the Corporation of a satisfactory earning power
under all conditions in the future. Under modern accounting methods,
however, it is unnecessary to incur the slightest risk of loss through
adverse business developments of any sort, since all these may be
provided for in advance by means of a Contingency Reserve.

6.建立10億美元的或有負債準備

董事們有信心經過上述的安排,公司未來不管在任何情況下,都可以確保擁有令
人滿意的獲利能力,然而在現今的會計原則下,公司最好不要承擔任何可能的潛
在損失的風險,因為最好能夠事先先建立一個或有損失負債準備以茲因應。

      The Special Committee has recommended that the Corporation
create such a Contingency Reserve in the fairly substantial amount of
$1,000,000,000. As previously set forth, the annual write-down of
inventory to $1 will be absorbed by this reserve. To prevent eventual
exhaustion of the Contingency Reserve, it has been further decided
that it be replenished each year by transfer of an appropriate sum
from Capital Surplus. Since the latter is expected to increase each year
by not less than $250,000,000 through the exercise of the Stock
Option Warrants (see 3. above), it will readily make good any drains on
the Contingency Reserve.

特別委員會因此建議公司可以建立一個10億美元的或有負債準備,就像是先前
所述的,存貨價值調整為1美元的差異將由這個準備來吸收,同時為了怕將來
或有準備消耗殆盡,每年還將固定由資本公積提撥補充,因為後者透過股票選擇
權的運用每年將至少可以增加2.5億美元(見前面第3點),所以隨時準備好可供
或有準備補充之用。

      In setting up this arrangement, the Board of Directors must
confess regretfully that they have been unable to improve upon the
devices already employed by important corporations in transferring
large sums between Capital, Capital Surplus, Contingency Reserves
and other Balance Sheet Accounts. In fact, it must be admitted that our
entries will be somewhat too simple, and will lack that element of
extreme mystification that characterizes the most advanced procedure
in this field. The Board of Directors, however, have insisted upon
clarity and simplicity in framing their Modernization Plan, even at the
sacrifice of possible advantage to the Corporation's earning power.

透過這樣的安排,董事會必須坦承他們很遺憾還不能夠向其他美國大企業一樣,
充分地運用各種方法,讓股本、資本公積、或有負債與資產負債表其他科目互通
有無,事實上我們必須承認,目前我們公司所作的分錄還過於簡單,根本沒有達
到一般業界那樣能夠利用最先進的手法,讓整個會計程序神祕複雜化,然而對此
董事會還是強調在規劃革新方案時,還是必須堅持清楚明瞭的原則,雖然這樣做
會對公司的獲利能力有所影響。


      In order to show the combined effect of the new proposals upon
the Corporation's earning power, we submit herewith a condensed
Income Account for 1935 on two bases, viz:

為了顯示新方案對於公司獲利能力的影響到底有多大? 我們特別列出1935年
分別在兩種不同基礎下的損益狀況:

 
 
B. Pro-Forma
Giving Effect to
Changes Proposed
Herewith

 
 

 
A. As Reported

Gross Receipts from all Sources (Including Inter-Company)
$765,000,000
$765,000,000

Salaries and Wages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
251,000,000
--

Other Operating Expenses and Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
461,000,000
311,000,000

Depreciation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
47,000,000
(50,000,000)

Interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5,000,000
5,000,000

Discount on Bonds Retired . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
--
(54,000,000)

Preferred Dividends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
25,000,000
--

Balance for Common . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(24,000,000)
553,000,000

Average Shares Outstanding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8,703,252
11,203,252

Earned Per Share . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
($2.76)
$49.80


      In accordance with a somewhat antiquated custom there is
appended herewith a condensed pro-forma Balance Sheet of the U. S.
Steel Corporation as of December 31, 1935, after giving effect to
proposed changes in asset and liability accounts.

為了配合有點老舊的會計原則,附件是美國鋼鐵1935年12月31日擬制性的
合併資產負債表,在經過調整後的資產負債科目狀況。

ASSETS

Fixed Assets, net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
($1,000,000,000)

Cash Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
142,000,000

Receivables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
56,000,000

Inventory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1

Miscellaneous Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
27,000,000

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
($774,999,999)

LIABILITIES

Common Stock Par 1¢ (Par Value $87,032.52) Stated Value*
($3,500,000,000)

Subsidiaries' Bonds and Stocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
113,000,000

New Sinking Fund Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1,080,000,000

Current Liabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
69,000,000

Contingency Reserve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1,000,000,000

Other Reserves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
74,000,000

Initial Surplus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
389,000,001

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
($774,999,999)


*Given a Stated Value differing from Par Value, in accordance with the laws of the
State of Virginia, where the company will be re-incorporated.

有別於原先的固定面額,現在的股本改為不固定面額,根據維吉尼亞州的法令,公司必須重新設
立。

      It is perhaps unnecessary to point out to our stockholders that
modern accounting methods give rise to balance sheets differing
somewhat in appearance from those of a less advanced period. In view
of the very large earning power that will result from these changes in
the Corporation's Balance Sheet, it is not expected that undue
attention will be paid to the details of assets and liabilities.

實在是不必要跟各位股東報告,更新過後的資產負債表與原先的報表將會有很大
的不同,我想為了讓公司的獲利大增因此必須就資產負債科目做很大的調整,大
家應該不會對此有太多的意見。

      In conclusion, the Board desires to point out that the combined
procedure, whereby plant will be carried at a minus figure, our wage
bill will be eliminated, and inventory will stand on our books at
virtually nothing, will give U. S. Steel Corporation an enormous
competitive advantage in the industry. We shall be able to sell our
products at exceedingly low prices and still show a handsome margin
of profit. It is the considered view of the Board of Directors that under
the Modernization Scheme we shall be able to undersell all
competitors to such a point that the anti-trust laws will constitute the
only barrier to 100% domination of the industry.

總而言之,董事會這一連串措施,包含將廠房價值調為負數、薪水刪掉、存貨降
到幾乎為零,將可使美國鋼鐵在產業的競爭力大為增加,我們將可以因此以非常
低的價格銷售我們所生產的產品,同時還可以保有很好的獲利,董事會也認為在
這項更新計畫之下,我們將可以徹底打敗競爭對手,直到我們達到反托拉斯法
100%市場佔有率的最高上限。

      In making this statement, the Board is not unmindful of the
possibility that some of our competitors may seek to offset our new
advantages by adopting similar accounting improvements. We are
confident, however, that U. S. Steel will be able to retain the loyalty of
its customers, old and new, through the unique prestige that will
accrue to it as the originator and pioneer in these new fields of service
to the user of steel. Should necessity arise, moreover, we believe we
shall be able to maintain our deserved superiority by introducing still
more advanced bookkeeping methods, which are even now under
development in our Experimental Accounting Laboratory.

當然在準備這份報告時,董事會不是不知道同業也有可能仿效我們這類的做法,
使得我們這樣做的效益大打折扣,但是我們有信心美國鋼鐵身為提供鋼鐵用戶這
類新式服務的先驅領航者,一定能夠維持住客戶的忠誠度,不論是老客戶或是新
客戶,當然若是有任何意外,美國鋼鐵仍將透過我們新設立的會計研究實驗室,
致力於研發出更新的會計做帳原則,以繼續保持我們的優勢地位。

APPENDIX B

附錄B

Some Thoughts on Selling Your Business*

對於閣下有意出售公司的一些想法

*This is an edited version of a letter I sent some years ago to a man who had
indicated that he might want to sell his family business. I present it here because it is
a message I would like to convey to other prospective sellers. -- W.E.B.

這是幾年前我寫給一位有意出售其家族事業給我們的人士,在經過修正後,我特地把這封信擺在
這裡,因為這正是我想傳達給其他有意出售事業者的訊息-華倫巴菲特

Dear _____________:

     Here are a few thoughts pursuant to our conversation of the other
day.

您好

以下是在前幾天我們的談話後,我個人的一些想法。

      Most business owners spend the better part of their lifetimes
building their businesses. By experience built upon endless repetition,
they sharpen their skills in merchandising, purchasing, personnel
selection, etc. It's a learning process, and mistakes made in one year
often contribute to competence and success in succeeding years.

大部分的企業老闆無不終其一生努力地建立自己的企業王國,經過不斷地努力焠
鍊,他們在行銷、採購與人事管理上的經驗都能持續地精進,這是一個學習的過
程,先前一時的挫敗通常會成就後來的成功。

      In contrast, owner-managers sell their business only once --
frequently in an emotionally-charged atmosphere with a multitude of
pressures coming from different directions. Often, much of the
pressure comes from brokers whose compensation is contingent upon
consummation of a sale, regardless of its consequences for both buyer
and seller. The fact that the decision is so important, both financially
and personally, to the owner can make the process more, rather than
less, prone to error. And, mistakes made in the once-in-a-lifetime
sale of a business are not reversible.

相對地,自己當老闆的經理人在面對來自各方的壓力,偶爾會在一時衝動的情況
下,考慮出售自己擁有的事業,通常是因為中間人為了賺取成交的佣金不顧買賣
雙方的利益而慫恿老闆趕快做決定,事實上做這樣的決策牽涉重大,不管是在財
務或是個人方面皆是如此,倉促地決定可能使得老闆做出錯誤而不是正確的決
策,而且一旦發生可就是一輩子無法挽回的錯誤。

     Price is very important, but often is not the most critical aspect of
the sale. You and your family have an extraordinary business -- one of
a kind in your field -- and any buyer is going to recognize that. It's
also a business that is going to get more valuable as the years go by.
So if you decide not to sell now, you are very likely to realize more
money later on. With that knowledge you can deal from strength and
take the time required to select the buyer you want.

價格當然很重要,但是通常它並不是整個交易最關鍵的因素,你跟你的家族擁有
業界最棒的企業,所有的潛在買家當然都知道這一點,而隨著時間的演進,你的
事業也會變得更有價值,所以若你現在決定不賣了,這代表以後你可能可以賺更
多的錢,而有了這樣的認知,你大可以從容以對,慢慢地尋找你希望的買主。

      If you should decide to sell, I think Berkshire Hathaway offers
some advantages that most other buyers do not. Practically all of these
buyers will fall into one of two categories:


但是要是你真的決定要賣,我相信Berkshire絕對可以提供比別人更好的條件,
基本上可能的買主可以分為兩大類︰

      (1) A company located elsewhere but operating in your business or
in a business somewhat akin to yours. Such a buyer -- no matter what
promises are made -- will usually have managers who feel they know
how to run your business operations and, sooner or later, will want to
apply some hands-on "help." If the acquiring company is much larger,
it often will have squads of managers, recruited over the years in part
by promises that they will get to run future acquisitions. They will have
their own way of doing things and, even though your business record
undoubtedly will be far better than theirs, human nature will at some
point cause them to believe that their methods of operating are
superior. You and your family probably have friends who have sold
their businesses to larger companies, and I suspect that their
experiences will confirm the tendency of parent companies to take
over the running of their subsidiaries, particularly when the parent
knows the industry, or thinks it does.


(1)第一種是你的同業或是與你的所處的產業相近的業者,這種買家不管他給你
怎麼樣的承諾,通常會讓你感覺到好像他比你懂得如何來經營你的事業,而早晚
有一天他會想要插手來幫忙你的營運,而若是買方再大一點,通常還會應徵一大
堆經理人進來,藉口表示以後還會有更多的購併案,他們一定會有自己的一套做
事方法,雖然你過去的經營記錄明顯地比他們好太多,但人性的某一面還是使他
們覺得他們做事的方法才是對的,你跟你家人的朋友大概也有人曾經將公司賣給
大企業的,我想他們應該也有這方面的經驗,可以證實大公司有傾向將子公司的
業務接過去管理,尤其是他們對這行也很內行或自認很內行時。

      (2) A financial maneuverer, invariably operating with large
amounts of borrowed money, who plans to resell either to the public
or to another corporation as soon as the time is favorable. Frequently,
this buyer's major contribution will be to change accounting methods
so that earnings can be presented in the most favorable light just prior
to his bailing out. I'm enclosing a recent article that describes this sort
of transaction, which is becoming much more frequent because of a
rising stock market and the great supply of funds available for such
transactions.

(2)第二類的公司是財務公司,大量運用所借來的資金,只要時機得當,總是準
備隨時將公司再賣給投資大眾或是別的大企業,通常這類買主對公司最大的貢獻
就是改變公司的會計政策,使得公司盈餘比以前看起來好看一點,如此一來使他
得以用更好的價格脫手而出,附件是最近一篇有關這類交易的文章報導,由於最
近股市熱絡所以這類的活動也相當頻繁,同時這類的資金也相當充沛。

      If the sole motive of the present owners is to cash their chips and
put the business behind them -- and plenty of sellers fall in this
category -- either type of buyer that I've just described is satisfactory.
But if the sellers' business represents the creative work of a lifetime
and forms an integral part of their personality and sense of being,
buyers of either type have serious flaws.

如果公司現在的擁有人唯一的目標只是隨時準備將企業待價而沽,棄企業整體的
利益於不顧,很多的賣主確實屬於這類型,那麼先前所描述的買方應該都可以為
賣方所接受,但是要是賣方所要出售的公司是他一輩子的心血結晶,甚至已經成
為其人格與生命的一部份,那麼這兩類的買方可能都不能符合你的標準。 

     Berkshire is another kind of buyer -- a rather unusual one. We buy
to keep, but we don't have, and don't expect to have, operating people
in our parent organization. All of the businesses we own are run
autonomously to an extraordinary degree. In most cases, the
managers of important businesses we have owned for many years have
not been to Omaha or even met each other. When we buy a business,
the sellers go on running it just as they did before the sale; we adapt
to their methods rather than vice versa.

至於Berkshire則屬於另外一類型的買主,而且絕對是與眾不同的,我們買進是
為了擁有,但我們不要,也不希望公司的營運主管由母公司指派,我們旗下所有
的事業都能夠相當獨立自主地營運,大部分的情況下,我們所擁有的重要事業管
理人從來就沒有來過奧瑪哈,甚至於雙方連面都沒碰過,當我們買下一間公司之
後,賣方依舊還是照原來的樣子經營公司,是我們要去適應他們,不是他們要來
適應我們。

      We have no one -- family, recently recruited MBAs, etc. -- to
whom we have promised a chance to run businesses we have bought
from owner-managers. And we won't have.

我們沒有任何家族成員或是新進聘用的企管碩士,準備要來經營我們買下的任何
企業,我想以後也不會有這種情況。 

     You know of some of our past purchases. I'm enclosing a list of
everyone from whom we have ever bought a business, and I invite you
to check with them as to our performance versus our promises. You
should be particularly interested in checking with the few whose
businesses did not do well in order to ascertain how we behaved under
difficult conditions.

如果你知道我們過去的購併案,我會附上過去我們購買企業的名單,我建議你可
以打個電話check看看,我們是不是說到做到,特別是你可以問問少數幾家經
營不甚理想的公司,看看在艱難的狀況下,我們又會採取怎樣的做法。 

     Any buyer will tell you that he needs you personally -- and if he
has any brains, he most certainly does need you. But a great many
buyers, for the reasons mentioned above, don't match their
subsequent actions to their earlier words. We will behave exactly as
promised, both because we have so promised, and because we need to
in order to achieve the best business results.

任何買主都會告訴你,私底下他很需要你的協助,當然若他真的有大腦,他就會
知道他真的是需要你,但大多數的買主,基於先前所提的幾個理由,大都不會遵
守先前所作的承諾,但我們不一樣,絕對是說到做到,因為一方面我們已做出承
諾,另一方面我們也是為了有更有的經營成果。

      This need explains why we would want the operating members of
your family to retain a 20% interest in the business. We need 80% to
consolidate earnings for tax purposes, which is a step important to us.
It is equally important to us that the family members who run the
business remain as owners. Very simply, we would not want to buy
unless we felt key members of present management would stay on as
our partners. Contracts cannot guarantee your continued interest; we
would simply rely on your word.

這樣的需求可以說明為何我們希望原有的經營團隊最好能夠保留20%的股份,
基於租稅規劃我們需要80%以上的股權,這點很重要,但同時我們也希望繼續
留下來管理的家族成員也能夠自己當老闆,所以很簡單,除非我們確定原有的主
要經理人還會繼續留下來成為我們的合夥人,否則我們不會考慮買下公司,合約
並不能保證你會繼續投入,我們相信的是你承諾的每一個字。

      The areas I get involved in are capital allocation and selection and
compensation of the top man. Other personnel decisions, operating
strategies, etc. are his bailiwick. Some Berkshire managers talk over
some of their decisions with me; some don't. It depends upon their
personalities and, to an extent, upon their own personal relationship
with me.

我們會介入的領域是資金的規劃與配置,以及高階人員的任命與報酬,其餘的人
事、營運策略等那就是你自己的事,有些Berkshire旗下事業的經理人會把他們
所作的一些商業決定向我報告,有些則不會,這主要是視他們本身的個性,以及
與我個人的私人關係而定。

      If you should decide to do business with Berkshire, we would pay
in cash. Your business would not be used as collateral for any loan by
Berkshire. There would be no brokers involved.

如果你決定要跟Berkshire一起做生意,我們會以現金的方式給予報酬,你的企
業資產也不會被Berkshire拿來當作借款的抵押品,也不會有掮客牽涉其中。

      Furthermore, there would be no chance that a deal would be
announced and that the buyer would then back off or start suggesting
adjustments (with apologies, of course, and with an explanation that
banks, lawyers, boards of directors, etc. were to be blamed). And
finally, you would know exactly with whom you are dealing. You would
not have one executive negotiate the deal only to have someone else
in charge a few years later, or have the president regretfully tell you
that his board of directors required this change or that (or possibly
required sale of your business to finance some new interest of the
parent's).

另外在交易成交後,我們也不會臨時宣佈退出不玩,或是提出要做調整的要求,
(當然要是銀行、律師、董事會等方面的出狀況,我們也會做出道歉與合理的解
釋),你不會碰到幾年前與你談判的主管突然走人,之後新上任的主管一概不認
帳,或是公司總裁很遺憾地跟你說,他背後的董事會要求你這樣或要求你那樣,
(或甚至想要再把你的公司賣掉以支應母公司新的資金需求)。

      It's only fair to tell you that you would be no richer after the sale
than now. The ownership of your business already makes you wealthy
and soundly invested. A sale would change the form of your wealth,
but it wouldn't change its amount. If you sell, you will have exchanged
a 100%-owned valuable asset that you understand for another valuable
asset -- cash -- that will probably be invested in small pieces (stocks)
of other businesses that you understand less well. There is often a
sound reason to sell but, if the transaction is a fair one, the reason is
not so that the seller can become wealthier.

另外也必須要提醒你在交易完成後,你並不會比原來還富有,因為擁有原來的事
業已經讓你用最有利的投資方式賺了很多錢,整個交易只會讓你的財富形式有所
改變,但基本上金額數量並不會改變,若你要賣,你可以確定將能夠把原有100%
持有且熟悉的資產,換得另外一種資產-現金,或再加上一小部份你比較不熟悉
的企業股份,要做出出售的決定總有許多理由,但若整個交易是公平合理的話,
這個理由絕對不是賣方因此可以變得更富有。

      I will not pester you; if you have any possible interest in selling, I
would appreciate your call. I would be extraordinarily proud to have
Berkshire, along with the key members of your family, own _______; I
believe we would do very well financially; and I believe you would have
just as much fun running the business over the next 20 years as you
have had during the past 20.

我不會刻意糾纏你,但若你有任何的意願想要出售的話,我會很樂意接到你的電
話,我很榮幸能夠讓Berkshire與你的家族成員一起擁有這份事業;我相信公司
在財務上一定會變得更好,而我也相信在未來的20年內,你也會像過去20年
來一樣,愉快地繼續經營這份事業。
創作者介紹

市場求生手冊

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