BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.

波克夏海瑟崴股份有限公司

To the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.:

致Berkshire所有股東:

     Our gain in net worth during 2000 was $3.96 billion, which
increased the per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B
stock by 6.5%. Over the last 36 years (that is, since present management
took over) per-share book value has grown from $19 to $40,442, a gain
of 23.6% compounded annually.*

本公司2000年的淨值增加了39.6億美元,每股A股或B股的帳面淨值成長了
6.5%,累計過去36年以來,也就是自從現有經營階層接手之後,每股淨值由當
初的19元成長到現在的40,442美元,年複合成長率約為23.6%*。

 

* *     All figures used in this report apply to Berhire's A shares, the successor to the only stock
that the company had outstanding before 1996. The B shares have an economic interest equal
to 1/30th that of the A.

*1在年報中所謂的每股數字係以A級普通股約當數為基礎,這是本公司在1996年以前流通在
外唯一的一種股份,B級普通股則擁有A級普通股三十分之一的權利。

 

     Overall, we had a decent year, our book-value gain having outpaced
the performance of the S&P 500. And, though this judgment is
necessarily subjective, we believe Berkshire’s gain in per-share intrinsic
value moderately exceeded its gain in book value. (Intrinsic value, as
well as other key investment and accounting terms and concepts, are
explained in our Owner’s Manual on pages 59-66. Intrinsic value is
discussed on page 64.)

總的來說,Berkshire去年的表現還算不錯,不管是每股淨值或價值的表現都超
越S&P500指數,雖然這樣的說法略顯主觀,但我們認為Berkshire每股實質
價值的成長甚至超過帳面價值的成長,(不管是投資學或是會計學,實質價值都
是相當關鍵的一個名詞,有關實質價值詳細的說明,請參閱股東手冊)。

     Furthermore, we completed two significant acquisitions that we
negotiated in 1999 and initiated six more. All told, these purchases
have cost us about $8 billion, with 97% of that amount paid in cash and
3% in stock. The eight businesses we’ve acquired have aggregate sales
of about $13 billion and employ 58,000 people. Still, we incurred no
debt in making these purchases, and our shares outstanding have
increased only 1/3 of 1%. Better yet, we remain awash in liquid assets and
are both eager and ready for even larger acquisitions.

去年我們一口氣完成八件購併案,其中有兩件從1999年就開始談,這些案子的
金額總計高達80億美元,所有資金完全依靠自有資金支應,沒有舉債半毛錢,
其中97%是以現金支付,其餘3%則用股票,所以流通在外股份僅增加0.3個百
分點而已,這八家企業的年營業額合計高達130億美元,雇用員工58,000名,
更棒的是目前我們手上的現金依然滿滿,隨時準備再買下更大的公司。

     I will detail our purchases in the next section of the report. But I will
tell you now that we have embraced the 21st century by entering such
cutting-edge industries as brick, carpet, insulation and paint. Try to
control your excitement.

不要太著急,後面我還會再詳細跟各位報告合併案的內容,在這裡,我要向各位
報告,展望21世紀,我們將大舉進軍磚塊、地毯、隔熱品與油漆等實體的尖端
產業。

     On the minus side, policyholder growth at GEICO slowed to a halt as
the year progressed. It has become much more expensive to obtain new
business. I told you last year that we would get our money’s worth from
stepped-up advertising at GEICO in 2000, but I was wrong. We’ll
examine the reasons later in the report.

另一方面,GEICO的保戶成長速度出現停滯的現象,取得新保單的成本越來越
高,去年我曾跟各位打包票說我們所投入大筆廣告經費保證值回票價,事實證明
我的判斷是錯誤的,在報告的後段我們還會再仔細檢討原因。

     Another negative - which has persisted for several years - is that we
see our equity portfolio as only mildly attractive. We own stocks of some
excellent businesses, but most of our holdings are fully priced and are
unlikely to deliver more than moderate returns in the future. We’re not
alone in facing this problem: The long-term prospect for equities in
general is far from exciting.

另外還有一項幾年來一直存在的負面消息,那就是目前我們的股票投資組合的價
位還是沒有太大的吸引力,我們確實擁有一些本質不錯的股票,但這些公司的股
價大多已合理反應其價值,所以在未來很難再有爆發性的投資報酬,這絕非單一
現象,目前整體股市的長期前景並不像一般人想的那麼樂觀。

     Finally, there is the negative that recurs annually: Charlie Munger,
Berkshire’s Vice Chairman and my partner, and I are a year older than
when we last reported to you. Mitigating this adverse development is
the indisputable fact that the age of your top managers is increasing at a
considerably lower rate - percentage-wise - than is the case at almost
all other major corporations. Better yet, this differential will widen in the
future.

最後還有一項每年都會發生的壞消息,那就是查理曼格-Berkshire的副董事長
兼主要合夥人以及我本人,相較於去年又都老了一歲,所幸比起其他美國大企業
來說,我們的主要經理人老化的速度可以說要慢得多(年度/年齡),而且這種差
異以後還會越來越大。

     Charlie and I continue to aim at increasing Berkshire’s per-share
value at a rate that, over time, will modestly exceed the gain from
owning the S&P 500. As the table on the facing page shows, a small
annual advantage in our favor can, if sustained, produce an anything-
but-small long-term advantage. To reach our goal we will need to add a
few good businesses to Berkshire’s stable each year, have the
businesses we own generally gain in value, and avoid any material
increase in our outstanding shares. We are confident about meeting the
last two objectives; the first will require some luck.

就長期而言,查理跟我還是一樣把Berkshire每股實質價值成長的速度鎖定在稍
微超過S&P500指數的目標上,如同封面上那張表所顯示的,雖然只是每年幾
個百分點的差異,但只要能夠持之以恆,久而久之也能產生不少的差距,當然每
年為了達到這個目標,我們都必須固定再為Berkshire增添幾家好公司,並讓原
先就已經擁有這些好公司的價值保持成長,同時還要避免流通在外的股數繼續大
幅膨脹,個人覺得要做到後兩點沒有太大問題,但第一點則真的要碰運氣。

     It’s appropriate here to thank two groups that made my job both
easy and fun last year - just as they do every year. First, our operating
managers continue to run their businesses in splendid fashion, which
allows me to spend my time allocating capital rather than supervising
them. (I wouldn’t be good at that anyway.)

在這裡要特別感謝兩組團隊讓我去年的工作一如往年般的輕鬆愉快,首先,我們
旗下事業的經理人依然繼續堅守崗位表現傑出,完全不讓我操心,(當然這本來
就不是我的專長),使我可以將大部分的心思擺在如何運用資金之上。

     Our managers are a very special breed. At most large companies, the
truly talented divisional managers seldom have the job they really want.
Instead they yearn to become CEOs, either at their present employer or
elsewhere. Indeed, if they stay put, they and their colleagues are likely
to feel they have failed.

我們旗下的經理人是非常特殊的一群,在大部分的公司,真正有能力的部門經理
很少樂在本身的工作,他們通常渴望能夠盡快晉升成為總裁,不論是在現在的公
司或跳槽到別家公司都可以,而要是他們不積極爭取,他自己本身以及其同事,
反而會認定他為懦夫。

     At Berkshire, our all-stars have exactly the jobs they want, ones that
they hope and expect to keep throughout their business lifetimes. They
therefore concentrate solely on maximizing the long-term value of the
businesses that they "own" and love. If the businesses succeed, they
have succeeded. And they stick with us: In our last 36 years, Berkshire
has never had a manager of a significant subsidiary voluntarily leave to
join another business.

在Berkshire,我們所有的明星經理人都樂在本身的工作,一份他們想要而且期
望能夠終生擁有的事業,也因此他們可以完全專注在如何把這份他們擁有且熱愛
事業的長期價值極大化,如果這份事業成功了,也就等於他們本身成功了,他們
一直與我們同在,在Berkshire過去36年來,還沒有聽說過任何一位旗下事業
經理人自動跳槽離開Berkshire的。

     The other group to which I owe enormous thanks is the home-office
staff. After the eight acquisitions more than doubled our worldwide
workforce to about 112,000, Charlie and I went soft last year and added
one more person at headquarters. (Charlie, bless him, never lets me
forget Ben Franklin’s advice: "A small leak can sink a great ship.") Now
we have 13.8 people.

還有另外一群夥伴,我要深深致上謝意,那就是Berkshire企業總部的員工,在
新購併的八個事業加入之後,我們全球的員工總數增加到112,000人,為此查
理跟我的態度稍微軟化,答應讓總部人員編制增加一名成為13.8人(查理這小
子,總是提醒我富蘭克林的名言,為山九仞,功虧一簣)。

     This tiny band works miracles. In 2000 it handled all of the details
connected with our eight acquisitions, processed extensive regulatory
and tax filings (our tax return covers 4,896 pages), smoothly produced
an annual meeting to which 25,000 tickets were issued, and accurately
dispensed checks to 3,660 charities designated by our shareholders. In
addition, the group dealt with all the routine tasks served up by a
company with a revenue run-rate of $40 billion and more than 300,000
owners. And, to add to all of this, the other 12.8 are a delight to be
around.

這一小群菁英再次創造了奇蹟,2000年他們一口氣處理了八件購併案大大小小
各項事宜、應付例行法令行政規範與稅務申報(光是申報書就厚達4,896頁)、讓
總計25,000名股東出席的股東會圓滿落幕並正確無誤地發出股東指定捐贈的
支票給3,660家慈善機構,除此之外,對於一家集團營業額高達400億美金、
股東超過30萬人的大公司,其日常行政事務有多少可想而知,說到這裡,有這
12.8人在身邊感覺真好。

     I should pay to have my job.

我實在是不應該領薪水,而要付薪水。

Acquisitions of 2000

2000年的購併案

     Our acquisition technique at Berkshire is simplicity itself: We answer
the phone. I’m also glad to report that it rings a bit more often now,
because owners and/or managers increasingly wish to join their
companies with Berkshire. Our acquisition criteria are set forth on page
23, and the number to call is 402-346-1400.

在Berkshire,我們的購併策略極其簡單-那就是靜待電話鈴響,可喜的是,現
在電話好像有點應接不暇,原因在於有越來越多的公司及其經理人慕名而來想要
加入Berkshire的行列,關於我們購併公司的標準請參見年報23頁,或請電
402-346-1400。

     Let me tell you a bit about the businesses we have purchased during
the past 14 months, starting with the two transactions that were
initiated in 1999, but closed in 2000. (This list excludes some smaller
purchases that were made by the managers of our subsidiaries and that,
in most cases, will be integrated into their operations.)

接下來讓我詳細向各位報告過去十四個月以來,我們到底買進了哪些公司,先說
說兩件從1999年就開始談,並於2000年敲定的個案,(本表並未包含旗下子
公司零零星星所買下規模較小的個案,通常它們都會被統一納入個別子公司的營
運報告中)。

I described the first purchase - 76% of MidAmerican Energy - in
last year’s report. Because of regulatory constraints on our voting
privileges, we perform only a "one-line" consolidation of
MidAmerican’s earnings and equity in our financial statements. If
we instead fully consolidated the company’s figures, our revenues
in 2000 would have been $5 billion greater than we reported,
though net income would remain the same.
第一個案子是中美能源76%的股權,在去年的報告中,我就曾提到,由
於行政法規限制我們對該公司的控制權,所以我們只能透過長期投資權益
法,將該公司的盈餘與權益納入母公司的財務報表之上,事實上要是能夠
將該公司的財務數字充分反應在母公司的帳上,則Berkshire的營收將至
少增加50億美元以上,當然損益數字並不會有任何變化。
On November 23, 1999, I received a one-page fax from Bruce
Cort that appended a Washington Post article describing an
aborted buyout of CORT Business Services. Despite his name,
Bruce has no connection with CORT. Rather, he is an airplane
broker who had sold Berkshire a jet in 1986 and who, before the
fax, had not been in touch with me for about ten years.

1999年11月23號我收到由Bruce Cort署名的傳真,後附一篇刊登在
華盛頓郵報有關CORT商業服務公司標購失敗的新聞,事實上,除了名
字巧合之外,Bruce Cort與CORT公司完全沒有關係,這位先生是一位
中古飛機仲介商,巧合的是,他本人還曾經在1986年賣過一架飛機給
Berkshire,在這張傳真之前,我已經有十年沒有跟他有過任何接觸。
I knew nothing about CORT, but I immediately printed out its SEC
filings and liked what I saw. That same day I told Bruce I had a
possible interest and asked him to arrange a meeting with Paul
Arnold, CORT’s CEO. Paul and I got together on November 29,
and I knew at once that we had the right ingredients for a
purchase: a fine though unglamorous business, an outstanding
manager, and a price (going by that on the failed deal) that made
sense.

在此之前,我對CORT公司一無所知,但我馬上調出該公司向證管會申
報的文件,一看之下大喜過望,就在當天,我向Bruce表示我對該公司
很有興趣,並請他立即幫我安排與該公司總裁Paul Arnold會面,不久後
Paul跟我在11月29號碰面,當下我就知道我們很有可能會成交,那是
一家樸實無華的好公司,同時價格也合理(當然多多少少受到先前流標的
影響)。

Operating out of 117 showrooms, CORT is the national leader in
"rent-to-rent" furniture, primarily used in offices but also by
temporary occupants of apartments. This business, it should be
noted, has no similarity to "rent-to-own" operations, which
usually involve the sale of home furnishings and electronics to
people having limited income and poor credit.

擁有117個外部展示點,CORT是全美辦公室傢具出租(也有臨時公寓使
用者)的領導品牌,必須說明一點,這個行業與分期付款租賃並不相同,
後者通常將目標鎖定在推銷電子產品及傢具,給經濟能力有限且信用記錄
不佳客戶者。

We quickly purchased CORT for Wesco, our 80%-owned
subsidiary, paying about $386 million in cash. You will find more
details about CORT’s operations in Wesco’s 1999 and 2000
annual reports. Both Charlie and I enjoy working with Paul, and
CORT looks like a good bet to beat our original expectations.

我們很快地透過持有80%股權的子公司Wesco名義以3.86億美元的現
金買下CORT,大家可以在Wesco 1999年及2000年的年報中找到更
多有關CORT的訊息,查理跟我都很喜歡與Paul一起共事,而CORT的
表現更超乎我們的預期,我們算是押對寶了。

Early last year, Ron Ferguson of General Re put me in contact with
Bob Berry, whose family had owned U.S. Liability for 49 years. This
insurer, along with two sister companies, is a medium-sized,
highly-respected writer of unusual risks - "excess and surplus
lines" in insurance jargon. After Bob and I got in touch, we agreed
by phone on a half-stock, half-cash deal.

去年初,通用再保的董事長Ron Ferguson幫我聯絡上Bob Berry,其家
族49年來一直擁有美國責任險公司,這家保險公司,加上其他兩家姊妹
公司都是屬於中小型、聲譽卓著的特殊險保險公司,套句保險業界的行
話,那是好又多的業務,而Bob在與我接觸之後,也同意以一半股票,
一半現金的方式進行交易。
In recent years, Tom Nerney has managed the operation for the
Berry family and has achieved a rare combination of excellent
growth and unusual profitability. Tom is a powerhouse in other
ways as well. In addition to having four adopted children (two
from Russia), he has an extended family: the Philadelphia Belles, a
young-teen girls basketball team that Tom coaches. The team
had a 62-4 record last year and finished second in the AAU
national tournament.

近幾年來,都是由Tom Nerney為Berry家族經營這家公司,不論是成
長速度或是獲利能力的表現都相當突出,Tom本身更是精力充沛,不但
親自認養四名小孩(其中有兩個來自俄國),他本身還擔任教練帶領一支來
自費城的青少女籃球隊,這隻球隊去年擁有62勝4敗的輝煌戰績,並在
AAU全國錦標賽中奪得亞軍。

Few property-casualty companies are outstanding businesses.
We have far more than our share, and U.S. Liability adds luster to
the collection.

好的產物意外險公司本來就不多,但我們卻擁有不少,這超過我們應得之
份,美國責任險公司的加入,無異為我們更增添輝煌。

Ben Bridge Jeweler was another purchase we made by phone,
prior to any face-to-face meeting between me and the
management. Ed Bridge, who with his cousin, Jon, manages this
65-store West Coast retailer, is a friend of Barnett Helzberg, from
whom we bought Helzberg Diamonds in 1995. Upon learning that
the Bridge family proposed to sell its company, Barnett gave
Berkshire a strong recommendation. Ed then called and explained
his business to me, also sending some figures, and we made a
deal, again half for cash and half for stock.

Ben Bridge珠寶公司是另外一件靠電話成交的個案,在這之前我們雙方
連面對面談話都沒有,Ed Bridge是Barnett Helzberg的好朋友,1995
年我們向Barnett買下賀茲柏格珠寶,Ed跟他的姪子Jon共同經營這家
位於西岸擁有65家分店的珠寶公司,在聽到Bridge有意出售公司之後,
Barnett立刻強烈建議Berkshire買進,於是Ed打電話向我說明公司營
運的狀況,同時送了一些報表資料過來,然後雙方就此成交,這次一樣是
一半現金,一半股票。
Ed and Jon are fourth generation owner-managers of a business
started 89 years ago in Seattle. Both the business and the family -
including Herb and Bob, the fathers of Jon and Ed - enjoy
extraordinary reputations. Same-store sales have increased by
9%, 11%, 13%, 10%, 12%, 21% and 7% over the past seven years, a
truly remarkable record.

早從89年前,該公司在西雅圖創立之後,到現在Ed與Jon已經是第四
代了,經營成員還包括Herb及Bob,他們分別是Jon與Ed的父親,在
當地享有盛譽,過去七年來,該公司的營業額分別成長了9%、11%、13%、
10%、12%、21%及7%,這個記錄真是驚人。

It was vital to the family that the company operate in the future as
in the past. No one wanted another jewelry chain to come in and
decimate the organization with ideas about synergy and cost
saving (which, though they would never work, were certain to be
tried). I told Ed and Jon that they would be in charge, and they
knew I could be believed: After all, it’s obvious that your
Chairman would be a disaster at actually running a store or selling
jewelry (though there are members of his family who have earned
black belts as purchasers).

對於該家族而言,公司的運作能否一如往常,至關重要,沒有人願意坐視
其他珠寶連鎖商趁虛而入,或是因為提出綜效及降低成本等餿主意讓公司
營運走下坡(雖然大家可以預知這一點效果都不會有,但還是一定會被要
求試看看),然而我卻明確告知仍由Ed及Jon負全責,他們也知道我說話
算話,畢竟本人還有自知之明,要我負責經營一家珠寶專賣店,鐵定會是
一場災難,雖然我的家人買珠寶買到可以獲頒黑帶的榮銜。

In their typically classy way, the Bridges allocated a substantial
portion of the proceeds from their sale to the hundreds of co-
workers who had helped the company achieve its success. We’re
proud to be associated with both the family and the company.

令人敬佩的是,Bridges家族將出售事業的所得,與協助公司成功的數百
位員工一起分享,我們很榮幸可以與這樣的家族及公司建立關係。

In July we acquired Justin Industries, the leading maker of Western
boots - including the Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona, and Chippewa
brands - and the premier producer of brick in Texas and five
neighboring states.

同年七月,我們買下西式靴子的領導廠商Justin企業,旗下品牌包含
Justin、Tony Lama、Nocona及Chippewa,同時他們也是德州以及鄰
近五州磚塊的主要製造商。
Here again, our acquisition involved serendipity. On May 4th, I
received a fax from Mark Jones, a stranger to me, proposing that
Berkshire join a group to acquire an unnamed company. I faxed
him back, explaining that with rare exceptions we don’t invest
with others, but would happily pay him a commission if he sent
details and we later made a purchase. He replied that the "mystery
company" was Justin. I then went to Fort Worth to meet John
Roach, chairman of the company and John Justin, who had built
the business and was its major shareholder. Soon after, we
bought Justin for $570 million in cash.

再一次我們的購併之旅充滿了驚奇,5月4號我收到一位署名Mark Jones
的傳真,我根本就不認識這個人,他提議Berkshire可以參與購併一家不
知名的公司,我回傳真給他,表示除非是特例,否則我們很少跟別人一起
參與投資,不過要是他肯把資料送給我們參考,事後若購併成功,我們願
意支付他一筆介紹費,他回覆說這家神祕公司叫做Justin,於是我便到
Fort Worth與該公司董事長-John Roach及創辦人兼大股東John Justin
會面,不久之後,我們順利以5.7億美元的現金買下Justin公司。

John Justin loved Justin Industries but had been forced to retire
because of severe health problems (which sadly led to his death in
late February). John was a class act - as a citizen, businessman
and human being. Fortunately, he had groomed two outstanding
managers, Harrold Melton at Acme and Randy Watson at Justin
Boot, each of whom runs his company autonomously.

John非常熱愛Justin企業,但卻由於健康問題不得不自公司退休,(後來
他更不幸在隔年二月去世),John是位優秀的市民、企業家以及人士,所
幸他還網羅了兩位傑出的經理人-Acme磚塊的Harrold以及Justin靴子
的Randy,兩人各自獨立經營這兩家事業。

Acme, the larger of the two operations, produces more than one
billion bricks per year at its 22 plants, about 11.7% of the
industry’s national output. The brick business, however, is
necessarily regional, and in its territory Acme enjoys
unquestioned leadership. When Texans are asked to name a
brand of brick, 75% respond Acme, compared to 16% for the
runner-up. (Before our purchase, I couldn’t have named a brand
of brick. Could you have?) This brand recognition is not only due
to Acme’s product quality, but also reflects many decades of
extraordinary community service by both the company and John
Justin.

Acme的規模稍大,22座工廠每年生產出超過10億個磚塊,大約佔全
美磚塊總產出的11.7%,磚塊產業有其區域性限制,在其經營的區域,
Acme享有獨霸的地位,當德州佬被問到知名磚塊的品牌時,75%的人會
想到Acme,遠遠超越第二位的16%,(很遺憾在買下這家公司之前,我
竟連一個磚塊品牌都不知道,不知道各位能不能? )這種品牌的認同度不僅
僅歸功於Acme的產品品質,更深深地反映出該公司幾十年來深耕地方
服務的成果。

I can’t resist pointing out that Berkshire - whose top management
has long been mired in the 19th century - is now one of the very
few authentic "clicks-and-bricks" businesses around. We went
into 2000 with GEICO doing significant business on the Internet,
and then we added Acme. You can bet this move by Berkshire is
making them sweat in Silicon Valley.

而我也忍不住要指出Berkshire的經營階層還老頑固地深陷在19世紀當
中,如今又多了一項道地實在的產業,另一方面進入2000年,我們旗下
的GEICO也經由網路做生意,但是後來我們又增添了Acme,我敢保證
Berkshire的這項舉動將使矽谷的那幫人汗流浹背。

In June, Bob Shaw, CEO of Shaw Industries, the world’s largest
carpet manufacturer, came to see me with his partner, Julian Saul,
and the CEO of a second company with which Shaw was mulling a
merger. The potential partner, however, faced huge asbestos
liabilities from past activities, and any deal depended on these
being eliminated through insurance.

六月,Bob Shaw-Shaw企業的總裁-該公司是全世界最大的地毯製造
商,帶著其夥伴-Julian Saul(同行還有一位正與Shaw企業洽談合併的公
司總裁),一起來見我,後者因為石綿案面臨潛在龐大的訴訟賠償,而合
併交易能否成功要看這些或有負債能否透過保險來解決。
The executives visiting me wanted Berkshire to provide a policy
that would pay all future asbestos costs. I explained that though
we could write an exceptionally large policy - far larger than any
other insurer would ever think of offering - we would never issue
a policy that lacked a cap.

兩位主管拜訪我的目的是希望Berkshire能夠提供他們一張保單以協助
他們解決合併後所有未來潛在的石綿賠償成本,我向他們解釋到雖然我們
可以簽發的保單金額比任何其他保險業者都來得大,但卻不可能發出金額
沒有上限的保單。

Bob and Julian decided that if we didn’t want to bet the ranch on
the extent of the acquiree’s liability, neither did they. So their deal
died. But my interest in Shaw was sparked, and a few months later
Charlie and I met with Bob to work out a purchase by Berkshire. A
key feature of the deal was that both Bob and Julian were to
continue owning at least 5% of Shaw. This leaves us associated
with the best in the business as shown by Bob and Julian’s record:
Each built a large, successful carpet business before joining
forces in 1998.

Bob跟Julian當場決定要是連我們都不敢下重注,賭被購併者潛在的風
險,那麼他們也不幹,雙方的交易最後因此告吹,不過在此同時我對Shaw
企業卻產生濃厚的興趣,幾個月後查理跟我與Bob會面敲定Berkshire
買下該公司的細節,其中有一條相當重要的條款,那就是Bob跟Julian
依然可以繼續持有Shaw企業最少5%的股權,此舉讓我們可以與這個業
界最優秀的經理人一起共事,如同Bob跟Julian過去幾年來輝煌的戰績,
各自在1998年加入我們之前皆已在地毯界建立了規模龐大的成功事
業。

Shaw has annual sales of about $4 billion, and we own 87.3% of
the company. Leaving aside our insurance operation, Shaw is by
far our largest business. Now, if people walk all over us, we won’t
mind.

Shaw的年營業額高達40億美元,而我們則持有該公司87.3%的股權,
除了既有的保險事業營運之外,Shaw成為我們目前最大的事業體,現在
如果現在有人要從我們身上踩過去,我們一點都不會介意。

In July, Bob Mundheim, a director of Benjamin Moore Paint, called
to ask if Berkshire might be interested in acquiring it. I knew Bob
from Salomon, where he was general counsel during some
difficult times, and held him in very high regard. So my answer
was "Tell me more."

七月,Bob Mundheim-Benjamin油漆公司的董事打電話給我,問到
Berkshire是否有興趣買下該公司,我是在所羅門時代認識Bob的,當時
他在該公司最困難的時候提供了許多寶貴的意見,我本人對他相當的敬
重,所以我立即表示:「請繼續說。」
In late August, Charlie and I met with Richard Roob and Yvan
Dupuy, past and present CEOs of Benjamin Moore. We liked them;
we liked the business; and we made a $1 billion cash offer on the
spot. In October, their board approved the transaction, and we
completed it in December. Benjamin Moore has been making
paint for 117 years and has thousands of independent dealers
that are a vital asset to its business. Make sure you specify our
product for your next paint job.

八月底,查理跟我與Richard Roob及Yvan Dupuy碰面,兩人分別是
Benjamin油漆公司前後任的總裁,我們與他們一見如故,也很欣賞這家
公司,當場我們就開出10億現金的條件,到了十月份,該公司董事會通
過這項交易案,而我們則在十二月完成內部手續,Benjamin公司生產油
漆已有117年的歷史,並擁有數千家的獨立經銷商,這也是他們最珍貴
的資產,記得下次買油漆時指名該公司的產品。

Finally, in late December, we agreed to buy Johns Manville Corp.
for about $1.8 billion. This company’s incredible odyssey over the
last few decades - too multifaceted to be chronicled here - was
shaped by its long history as a manufacturer of asbestos
products. The much-publicized health problems that affected
many people exposed to asbestos led to JM’s declaring
bankruptcy in 1982.

最後在十二月底,我們同意以18億美元買下Johns Manville公司(簡稱
JM),這家公司過去幾十年來創造了令人難以置信的傳奇-族煩不及備載,
其中又以生產石綿產品最為著名,當時因為石綿引發許多人致癌的健康問
題而導致該公司在1982年宣佈申請破產。
Subsequently, the bankruptcy court established a trust for
victims, the major asset of which was a controlling interest in JM.
The trust, which sensibly wanted to diversify its assets, agreed
last June to sell the business to an LBO buyer. In the end, though,
the LBO group was unable to obtain financing.

之後破產法庭為受害人成立了一筆信託基金,其中最主要的資產就是JM
的多數股權,而這筆信託基金為了要分散其資產配置,於是在去年六月同
意將該公司賣給一位融資購併業者,只是後來由於該業者無法順利取得融
資而使得交易告吹。

Consequently, the deal was called off on Friday, December 8th.
The following Monday, Charlie and I called Bob Felise, chairman of
the trust, and made an all-cash offer with no financing
contingencies. The next day the trustees voted tentatively to
accept our offer, and a week later we signed a contract.

之後到了12月8號星期五交易正式宣佈取消,隔週,查理跟我打電話給
Bob Felise-該信託基金的董事會主席,提出全部現金不必等候融資的條
件,隔天信託基金臨時表決接受我們的提案,並於一個星期後正式簽訂契
約。

JM is the nation’s leading producer of commercial and industrial
insulation and also has major positions in roofing systems and a
variety of engineered products. The company’s sales exceed $2
billion and the business has earned good, if cyclical, returns. Jerry
Henry, JM’s CEO, had announced his retirement plans a year ago,
but I’m happy to report that Charlie and I have convinced him to
stick around.

JM是全美商業用與工業用隔熱材料的領導品牌,同時在屋頂裝設與其他
工業產品也佔有相當大的市場,該公司的年營業額超過20億美金,同時
也享有不錯的獲利水準,(當然該公司還是有景氣循環),該公司總裁Jerry
Henry本來已宣佈一年後計畫要退休,但在這裡我很高興向各位報告,查
理跟我已經成功說服他繼續留下來。

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

     Two economic factors probably contributed to the rush of
acquisition activity we experienced last year. First, many managers and
owners foresaw near-term slowdowns in their businesses - and, in fact,
we purchased several companies whose earnings will almost certainly
decline this year from peaks they reached in 1999 or 2000. The declines
make no difference to us, given that we expect all of our businesses to
now and then have ups and downs. (Only in the sales presentations of
investment banks do earnings move forever upward.) We don’t care
about the bumps; what matters are the overall results. But the decisions
of other people are sometimes affected by the near-term outlook, which
can both spur sellers and temper the enthusiasm of purchasers who
might otherwise compete with us.

去年購併案之所以會蜂擁而現,主要有兩個原因,首先,許多經理人跟老闆都預
視到自己公司的產業即將走下坡,事實上在我們這次買下來的公司當中,確實就
有好幾家今年的盈餘將會較1999年或2000年減少,不過對於這點我們並不介
意,因為每個產業都會有景氣循環,(只有在券商做的投資簡報中,盈餘才會無
止盡地成長),我們不在乎這短期的波折,真正重要的是長期的結果,當然有些
人會比較看重短期的成敗,而這反而能增加賣方出售的意願或降低其他潛在買家
的競爭意願。


     A second factor that helped us in 2000 was that the market for junk
bonds dried up as the year progressed. In the two preceding years, junk
bond purchasers had relaxed their standards, buying the obligations of
ever-weaker issuers at inappropriate prices. The effects of this laxity
were felt last year in a ballooning of defaults. In this environment,
"financial" buyers of businesses - those who wish to buy using only a
sliver of equity - became unable to borrow all they thought they needed.
What they could still borrow, moreover, came at a high price.
Consequently, LBO operators became less aggressive in their bidding
when businesses came up for sale last year. Because we analyze
purchases on an all-equity basis, our evaluations did not change, which
means we became considerably more competitive.

第二個能讓我們在2000年這麼順的原因,是去年垃圾債券市場狀況日益低迷,
由於前兩年垃圾債券投資人逐漸降低他們的標準,以不合理的價格買進許多體質
不佳的公司債,浮濫的結果終究導致大量違約的出現,在這種狀況下,習慣靠融
資買下企業的投機者-就是習慣印股票換公司的那群人-便很難再借到足夠的
錢,而且就算能夠借到,其成本也不便宜,也因此當去年有公司對外求售時,融
資購併者(LBO)的活動力便銳減,而因為我們習慣以買下整家公司股權的方式投
資,所以我們的評估方式沒有太大的改變,這使得我們的競爭力大幅提高。


     Aside from the economic factors that benefited us, we now enjoy a
major and growing advantage in making acquisitions in that we are
often the buyer of choice for the seller. That fact, of course, doesn’t
assure a deal - sellers have to like our price, and we have to like their
business and management - but it does help.

除了這兩項有利於我們的外部因素之外,現在在進行購併時,我們自己本身也擁
有另一項優勢,那就是Berkshire通常都是賣方期望指定的買方,雖然這無法保
證交易一定能談成,一方面還要看賣方是否能接受我們的報價,一方面也要看我
們喜不喜歡這家公司以及其經理階層,但無可否認確實對交易的進行大有幫助。


     We find it meaningful when an owner cares about whom he sells to.
We like to do business with someone who loves his company, not just
the money that a sale will bring him (though we certainly understand
why he likes that as well). When this emotional attachment exists, it
signals that important qualities will likely be found within the business:
honest accounting, pride of product, respect for customers, and a loyal
group of associates having a strong sense of direction. The reverse is
apt to be true, also. When an owner auctions off his business, exhibiting
a total lack of interest in what follows, you will frequently find that it has
been dressed up for sale, particularly when the seller is a "financial
owner." And if owners behave with little regard for their business and its
people, their conduct will often contaminate attitudes and practices
throughout the company.

另外我們還發現賣方是否在意公司將來的歸屬其實相當重要,我們喜愛與那些鍾
愛公司,而不只是斤斤計較出售公司能夠得到多少錢的人往來,(當然我們也明
瞭沒有人會不愛錢),當我們意識到有這樣的情節存在時,通常代表了這家公司
擁有相當重要的特質:誠實的帳務、產品的自信、客戶的尊重以及一群專心一致
的忠實員工,反之亦然,當一家公司的老闆只一昧地想要賣一個好價錢,但卻一
點都不關心公司賣掉後的下場,那麼你馬上就會了解為什麼他會急著想要賣公司
的原因,尤其當他是靠借錢買下這家時,而當一家公司的老闆表現出一點都不在
乎公司死活時,公司的上上下下一定也會感染到這種氣氛,使得其態度與行事作
風跟著轉變。


     When a business masterpiece has been created by a lifetime - or
several lifetimes - of unstinting care and exceptional talent, it should be
important to the owner what corporation is entrusted to carry on its
history. Charlie and I believe Berkshire provides an almost unique home.
We take our obligations to the people who created a business very
seriously, and Berkshire’s ownership structure ensures that we can
fulfill our promises. When we tell John Justin that his business will
remain headquartered in Fort Worth, or assure the Bridge family that its
operation will not be merged with another jeweler, these sellers can take
those promises to the bank.


要知道一家經典企業由一個企業家終其一生,有時甚至是好幾代,以無微不至的
用心與優異的才能建立時,對於老闆來說,接手的人是否承續過去輝煌的歷史是
相當重要的一件事,關於這點,查理跟我相當有信心,Berkshire絕對可以提供
這些企業一個美滿的歸宿,我們相當重視對於這些企業創辦人所作的保證,而
Berkshire的控股結構絕對可以確保我們的承諾順利落實,當我們告知John
Justin他的企業總部仍將留在Fort Worth或保證Bridge家族他們的公司絕不
會與其他珠寶公司合併時,我們可是絕對說到做到。

     How much better it is for the "painter" of a business Rembrandt to
personally select its permanent home than to have a trust officer or
uninterested heirs auction it off. Throughout the years we have had
great experiences with those who recognize that truth and apply it to
their business creations. We’ll leave the auctions to others.

就像是林布蘭畫作一樣珍貴的公司,與其讓信託人或不肖的子孫把它拍賣掉,還
不如由畫家本身選擇其最後的歸宿,這幾年來我們與有這樣認知的人士有過非常
多愉快的經驗,並讓這些感覺一直延續到這些企業上,至於拍賣這玩意兒,就留
給別人去用吧。


The Economics of Property/Casualty Insurance
產物意外險的經營

 

     Our main business - though we have others of great importance - is
insurance. To understand Berkshire, therefore, it is necessary that you
understand how to evaluate an insurance company. The key
determinants are: (1) the amount of float that the business generates;
(2) its cost; and (3) most critical of all, the long-term outlook for both of
these factors.

我們最主要的本業就是保險,當然其他事業也相當重要,想要了解Berkshire,
你就必須知道如何去評估一家保險公司,其中主要的關鍵因素有(1)這個行業所
能產生的浮存金數量(2)以及它的成本(3)最重要的是這些因素長期的展望。

     To begin with, float is money we hold but don't own. In an insurance
operation, float arises because premiums are received before losses are
paid, an interval that sometimes extends over many years. During that
time, the insurer invests the money. This pleasant activity typically
carries with it a downside: The premiums that an insurer takes in usually
do not cover the losses and expenses it eventually must pay. That leaves
it running an "underwriting loss," which is the cost of float. An insurance
business has value if its cost of float over time is less than the cost the
company would otherwise incur to obtain funds. But the business is a
lemon if its cost of float is higher than market rates for money.


首先浮存金是一項我們持有但卻不屬於我們的資金,在保險公司的營運中,浮存
金產生的原因在於保險公司在真正支付損失理賠之前,一般會先向保戶收取保
費,在這期間保險公司會將資金運用在其他投資之上,當然這樣的好處也必須要
付出代價,通常保險業者收取的保費並不足以因應最後支付出去的相關損失與費
用,於是保險公司便會發生承保損失,這就是浮存金的成本,而當一家公司取得
浮存金成本,就長期而言低於從其它管道取得資金的成本時,它就有存在的價
值,否則一旦保險事業取得浮存金的成本若遠高於貨幣市場利率時,它就像是一
顆極酸的檸檬。

     A caution is appropriate here: Because loss costs must be estimated,
insurers have enormous latitude in figuring their underwriting results,
and that makes it very difficult for investors to calculate a company's
true cost of float. Errors of estimation, usually innocent but sometimes
not, can be huge. The consequences of these miscalculations flow
directly into earnings. An experienced observer can usually detect
large-scale errors in reserving, but the general public can typically do
no more than accept what's presented, and at times I have been amazed
by the numbers that big-name auditors have implicitly blessed. Both the
income statements and balance sheets of insurers can be minefields.

有一點必須特別注意的是,因為損失成本必須仰賴估算,所以保險業者對於承保
結算的成績有相當大伸縮的空間,連帶使得投資人很難正確地衡量一家保險公司
真正的浮存金成本,估計錯誤,通常是無心,但有時卻是故意,與真實的結果往
往會有很大的差距,而這種結果直接影響到公司的損益表上,有經驗的行家通常
可以經由公司的準備提列情形發現重大的錯誤,但對於一般投資大眾來說,除了
被迫接受財務報表的數字之外,別無他法,而我個人常常被這些經過各大會計師
事務所背書的財務報告所嚇到,許多保險公司的損益表與資產負債表上佈滿了許
多地雷。

     At Berkshire, we strive to be both consistent and conservative in our
reserving. But we will make mistakes. And we warn you that there is
nothing symmetrical about surprises in the insurance business: They
almost always are unpleasant.

在Berkshire我們對於損失準備提列盡量採取保守且一貫的做法,但我們仍不免
會犯錯,不過我還是要警告大家,保險業本來就會發生很多意外,而且通常都不
會是什麼好消息。


     The table that follows shows (at intervals) the float generated by the
various segments of Berkshire’s insurance operations since we entered
the business 34 years ago upon acquiring National Indemnity Company
(whose traditional lines are included in the segment "Other Primary").
For the table we have calculated our float - which we generate in large
amounts relative to our premium volume - by adding net loss reserves,
loss adjustment reserves, funds held under reinsurance assumed and
unearned premium reserves, and then subtracting insurance-related
receivables, prepaid acquisition costs, prepaid taxes and deferred
charges applicable to assumed reinsurance. (Don’t panic, there won’t be
a quiz.)


下表中所顯示的數字是,Berkshire自取得國家產險公司經營權,進入保險事業
34年以來所貢獻的浮存金,(其中傳統業務包含在其他主險項下),在這張計算
浮存金的表中,(相對於收到的保費收入,我們持有的浮存金部位算是相當大的)
我們將所有的損失準備、損失費用調整準備、再保預先收取的資金與未賺取保費
加總後,再扣除應付佣金、預付購併成本、預付稅負以及取得再保業務的相關遞
延費用後,所得出浮存金的數額,不要緊張,這不是什麼考試!

     We’re pleased by the growth in our float during 2000 but not happy
with its cost. Over the years, our cost of float has been very close to
zero, with the underwriting profits realized in most years offsetting the
occasional terrible year such as 1984, when our cost was a staggering
19%. In 2000, however, we had an underwriting loss of $1.6 billion,
which gave us a float cost of 6%. Absent a mega-catastrophe, we expect
our float cost to fall in 2001 - perhaps substantially - in large part
because of corrections in pricing at General Re that should increasingly
be felt as the year progresses. On a smaller scale, GEICO may
experience the same improving trend.

對於2000年的浮存金成長我們感到相當欣慰,但卻對其成本不甚滿意,一直以
來,我們浮存金成本通常都維持在接近於零的低水準,有時好的時候,還能享有
可觀的承保利益,來彌補像1984年那樣糟糕的年度,當年的資金成本高達
19%,不過2000年我們的承保損失卻高達16億美金,這使得我們的浮存金成
本飆高至6%,除非再發生什麼重大的災難,否則我們預期2001年的浮存金成
本將會大幅下降,主要的原因是General RE已經逐漸開始反映調整價格,至於
GEICO雖然規模較小,但也應該會有同樣的情形。


     There are two factors affecting our cost of float that are very rare at
other insurers but that now loom large at Berkshire. First, a few insurers
that are currently experiencing large losses have offloaded a significant
portion of these on us in a manner that penalizes our current earnings
but gives us float we can use for many years to come. After the loss that
we incur in the first year of the policy, there are no further costs
attached to this business.

相較於其他保險同業,Berkshire現在有兩項相當罕見但卻越來越重要的因素影
響到其浮存金的成本,第一是部份同業目前正面臨相當嚴重的承保損失,迫使我
們必須跟著分攤,而影響到我們短期的盈餘表現,但另一方面也讓我們在未來幾
年有更多的浮存金可以運用,而在保單第一年的損失發生過後,以後年度將不會
再有這方面的成本。

     When these policies are properly priced, we welcome the pain-today,
gain-tomorrow effects they have. In 1999, $400 million of our
underwriting loss (about 27.8% of the total) came from business of this
kind and in 2000 the figure was $482 million (34.4% of our loss). We
have no way of predicting how much similar business we will write in the
future, but what we do get will typically be in large chunks. Because
these transactions can materially distort our figures, we will tell you
about them as they occur.


只要保單的價格合理,我們樂於接受這類先苦後甘的結果,在1999年所有的承
保損失當中,有4億美元(約佔總損失的27.8%)是來自於這類的業務,至於2000
年則有4.82億美元(約佔總損失的34.4%),我們無法預測以後每年能夠接到多
少這類的業務,不過只要有案件金額通常都不小,而也由於這類的交易往往會嚴
重影響到我們的損益數字,所以只要發生我一定會向各位報告。


     Other reinsurers have little taste for this insurance. They simply can’t
stomach what huge underwriting losses do to their reported results,
even though these losses are produced by policies whose overall
economics are certain to be favorable. You should be careful, therefore,
in comparing our underwriting results with those of other insurers.

其他再保業者對這類業務往往沒有多大興趣,因為他們根本就無法接受其財務報
表突然出現重大的損失,即便可以確定這類業務長期的結果都相當不錯,所以各
位在拿我們的數字跟其他同業做比較時,要特別注意這一點。

     An even more significant item in our numbers - which, again, you
won’t find much of elsewhere - arises from transactions in which we
assume past losses of a company that wants to put its troubles behind
it. To illustrate, the XYZ insurance company might have last year bought
a policy obligating us to pay the first $1 billion of losses and loss
adjustment expenses from events that happened in, say, 1995 and
earlier years. These contracts can be very large, though we always
require a cap on our exposure. We entered into a number of such
transactions in 2000 and expect to close several more in 2001.

另外還有一個影響更大的因素,也是你在別的地方找不到的,那就是有些公司想
要把過去發生但卻不確定的損失解決掉,簡單的說,有家XYZ保險公司在去年
向我們買了一張保單,約定我們必須支付頭10億美元的損失再加上以前年度,
比如說1995年後續的損失調整費用,這些合約的金額有可能相當大,當然不論
如何,我們還是會定一個上限,我們在2000年簽了幾件這類的合約,到了2001
年也會再簽下幾件。


     Under GAAP accounting, this "retroactive" insurance neither benefits
nor penalizes our current earnings. Instead, we set up an asset called
"deferred charges applicable to assumed reinsurance," in an amount
reflecting the difference between the premium we receive and the
(higher) losses we expect to pay (for which reserves are immediately
established). We then amortize this asset by making annual charges to
earnings that create equivalent underwriting losses. You will find the
amount of the loss that we incur from these transactions in both our
quarterly and annual management discussion. By their nature, these
losses will continue for many years, often stretching into decades. As an
offset, though, we have the use of float - lots of it.


依據一般公認會計原則,這類追溯型的保險對於當年度的盈餘不會有任何的影
響,反倒是我們的報表因此增加了一項叫做"再保遞延支出"的會計科目,將收到
的保費收入與估計將支付的理賠損失(當然在此之前已先提列準備)的差額計
入,之後我們再將分年攤銷在這個科目項下的金額列為承保的損失,大家可以在
季報與年報的經營說明中看到相關的資訊,依其特性,這類的損失會持續發生很
多年,甚至達幾十年,當然相對的我們可以得到大筆浮存金的運用權利。

     Clearly, float carrying an annual cost of this kind is not as desirable
as float we generate from policies that are expected to produce an
underwriting profit (of which we have plenty). Nevertheless, this
retroactive insurance should be decent business for us.

很明顯的,這類浮存金所負擔的成本不像其他一般業務能夠為我們帶來承保利益
(這種好康的我們可是有很多),儘管如此,追溯保險對我們來說,仍然算是不錯
的買賣。


     The net of all this is that a) I expect our cost of float to be very
attractive in the future but b) rarely to return to a "no-cost" mode
because of the annual charge that retroactive reinsurance will lay on us.
Also - obviously - the ultimate benefits that we derive from float will
depend not only on its cost but, fully as important, how effectively we
deploy it.


綜合以上因素最後得到的結果是a)我預期以後浮存金的成本可以壓得非常低,
b)但由於必須負擔前述提到的追溯再保險每年提列的費用,因此可能沒有辦法像
以前一樣完全不用成本。當然很明顯的,這些浮存金對我們到底是好是壞,除了
當初取得的成本外,我們運用這筆資金的效率高低也同等重要。


     Our retroactive business is almost single-handedly the work of Ajit
Jain, whose praises I sing annually. It is impossible to overstate how
valuable Ajit is to Berkshire. Don’t worry about my health; worry about
his.

而我們追溯再保險業務幾乎完全由Ajit Jain一手包辦,每年照例我都會給他褒
獎一番,實在是很難去估計Ajit在Berkshire所代表的價值,大家除了關心我
的健康之外,更應該關心他的健康。

     Last year, Ajit brought home a $2.4 billion reinsurance premium,
perhaps the largest in history, from a policy that retroactively covers a
major U.K. company. Subsequently, he wrote a large policy protecting
the Texas Rangers from the possibility that Alex Rodriguez will become
permanently disabled. As sports fans know, "A-Rod" was signed for
$252 million, a record, and we think that our policy probably also set a
record for disability insurance. We cover many other sports figures as
well.


去年,Ajit光靠著一家英國的主要保險公司的追溯再保險,就替我們收到24億
美元的再保費收入,這有可能創下業界的歷史新高,之後,他又接了美國大聯盟
德州游騎兵隊一張鉅額保單,投保強打者Alex Rodrriguez可能終身不遂的風
險,喜愛棒球的人士都知道,A-Rod曾以2.52億美元的天價簽約,我想我們的
這張保單應該又創下了失能險的保額記錄,此外我們也受理許多運動明星的保
險。

     In another example of his versatility, Ajit last fall negotiated a very
interesting deal with Grab.com, an Internet company whose goal was to
attract millions of people to its site and there to extract information
from them that would be useful to marketers. To lure these people,
Grab.com held out the possibility of a $1 billion prize (having a $170
million present value) and we insured its payment. A message on the
site explained that the chance of anyone winning the prize was low, and
indeed no one won. But the possibility of a win was far from nil.


此外Ajit也展現他多才多藝的天份,去年秋天他與一家網路公司Grab.com協
商訂出一張相當有趣的保單,該公司成立的目標是希望吸引數百萬的網友到其網
站,並從其中擷取有用的資料給行銷公司,而為了要吸引網友上門,Grab.com
推出了一個10億美元的大獎(約等於1.7億美元的現值),萬一真的有人中獎時,
由我們保證支付這筆款項,當然網站上也強調得到這筆獎金的機會微乎其微,事
後證明沒有人得到,但在當時中獎的機率並非全無可能。

     Writing such a policy, we receive a modest premium, face the
possibility of a huge loss, and get good odds. Very few insurers like that
equation. And they’re unable to cure their unhappiness by reinsurance.
Because each policy has unusual - and sometimes unique -
characteristics, insurers can’t lay off the occasional shock loss through
their standard reinsurance arrangements. Therefore, any insurance CEO
doing a piece of business like this must run the small, but real, risk of a
horrible quarterly earnings number, one that he would not enjoy
explaining to his board or shareholders. Charlie and I, however, like any
proposition that makes compelling mathematical sense, regardless of
its effect on reported earnings.

簽下這類的保單,我們將可以預先收到為數可觀的保費,但同樣也必須面臨潛在
的重大損失,所幸機率上對我們有利,並不是所有的保險業者都愛玩這種遊戲,
因為他們沒辦法利用再保險來克服這樣的不愉快感,由於每一張保單都不尋常,
甚至有時擁有其獨特性,保險業者通常無法透過一般的再保安排來規避這類突發
的潛在重大損失,也因此幾乎所有的保險公司總裁在經營事業時都必須面臨這種
機率不大但卻又不容忽視可能深深影響單一季盈餘數字的風險,這簡直是有如芒
刺在背,我想沒有任何一位經理人會喜歡向董事會或股東會解釋這中間的為難,
不過對於查理跟我本人而言,只要算盤撥起來合理,我們根本就不在乎其對帳面
損益數字可能的影響。

     At General Re, the news has turned considerably better: Ron
Ferguson, along with Joe Brandon, Tad Montross, and a talented
supporting cast took many actions during 2000 to bring that company’s
profitability back to past standards. Though our pricing is not fully
corrected, we have significantly repriced business that was severely
unprofitable or dropped it altogether. If there’s no mega-catastrophe in
2001, General Re’s float cost should fall materially.


至於General RE,情況變得比以前好多了,Ron Ferguson加上Joe Brandon
與Tad Montross以及一班能幹的團隊在2000年實行了許多做法,讓公司的
獲利回到過去的水平,雖然我們的訂價還無法完全修正過來,但對於獲利情況最
差的那部份業務,我們已大幅調整價格或乾脆捨棄掉,如果2001年沒有再發生
什麼重大的天災人禍,General RE的浮存金成本可望大幅下降。

     The last couple of years haven’t been any fun for Ron and his crew.
But they have stepped up to tough decisions, and Charlie and I applaud
them for these. General Re has several important and enduring business
advantages. Better yet, it has managers who will make the most of them.


過去幾年,對於Ron跟他的團隊來說並不好過,但所幸他們已經做出最困難的
抉擇,查理跟我仍然給予其肯定的掌聲,General RE擁有許多重要且穩定的競
爭優勢,更棒的是,我相信其經理人一定能夠充分發揮運用這些優勢。

     In aggregate, our smaller insurance operations produced an
excellent underwriting profit in 2000 while generating significant float -
just as they have done for more than a decade. If these companies were
a single and separate operation, people would consider it an
outstanding insurer. Because the companies instead reside in an
enterprise as large as Berkshire, the world may not appreciate their
accomplishments - but I sure do. Last year I thanked Rod Eldred, John
Kizer, Don Towle and Don Wurster, and I again do so. In addition, we
now also owe thanks to Tom Nerney at U.S. Liability and Michael
Stearns, the new head of Cypress.

總的來說,其他規模較小的保險業務在2000年產生了可觀的承保利益,同時一
如過去十年來持續貢獻大量的浮存金,如果把這些公司視為單一獨立的企業,那
麼他們絕對可以稱得上是一家經營績效優異的保險公司,而因為這些事業隱身在
Berkshire如此龐大的事業體中,外界無法理解他們的努力與成就,但至少我個
人能夠深深地體會地,去年我感謝過Rod、John、Don等人,今年則還要再加
上美國責任險的Tom以及Cypress的新任主管Michael。

     You may notice that Brad Kinstler, who was CEO of Cypress and
whose praises I’ve sung in the past, is no longer in the list above. That’s
because we needed a new manager at Fechheimer Bros., our
Cincinnati-based uniform company, and called on Brad. We seldom
move Berkshire managers from one enterprise to another, but maybe
we should try it more often: Brad is hitting home runs in his new job,
just as he always did at Cypress.

大家可能會發現過去我常稱讚的Brad- Cypress公司的前任總裁,已不在上述
的名單當中,那是因為我們位於辛辛那堤的制服公司-費區海默需要一位新的經
理人,所以我們特地拜託Brad,在Berkshire我們很少調動經理人,不過現在
看來我們應該要再多試一試,因為Brad在新職務上表現相當優異,就如同他原
來在Cypress的表現一般。


GEICO (1-800-847-7536 or GEICO.com)
蓋可保險 (1-800-847-7536 or GEICO.com)


     We show below the usual table detailing GEICO’s growth. Last year I
enthusiastically told you that we would step up our expenditures on
advertising in 2000 and that the added dollars were the best investment
that GEICO could make. I was wrong: The extra money we spent did not
produce a commensurate increase in inquiries. Additionally, the
percentage of inquiries that we converted into sales fell for the first time
in many years. These negative developments combined to produce a
sharp increase in our per-policy acquisition cost.

下表是用來顯示蓋可保險成長幅度的一張表,去年我很興奮地向各位報告我們
2000年在廣告行銷的大筆投入,並強調每一分錢都節節實實花在刀口上,事實
證明我錯了,我們額外投入的經費並沒有為我們相對增加詢問的電話,而且平均
每通詢問電話最後成交的比率幾年來也首度下滑,這些不利的發展使得我們平均
每張保單的取得成本大幅增加。

     Agonizing over errors is a mistake. But acknowledging and analyzing
them can be useful, though that practice is rare in corporate
boardrooms. There, Charlie and I have almost never witnessed a candid
post-mortem of a failed decision, particularly one involving an
acquisition. A notable exception to this never-look-back approach is
that of The Washington Post Company, which unfailingly and objectively
reviews its acquisitions three years after they are made. Elsewhere,
triumphs are trumpeted, but dumb decisions either get no follow-up or
are rationalized.

事後悔恨犯下的錯誤固然不對,但勇敢承認並虛心檢討原因卻大有助益,雖然這
種景象在美國企業的內部高層會議上並不常見,查理跟我本人幾乎很少看到有人
會誠心誠意的檢討一項錯誤的決策,尤其是跟購併案有關,唯一著名的例外是華
盛頓郵報認真客觀地檢討三年前的一項失敗的購併案,除此之外,就只看到大家
對成功的案子歌功頌德,至於愚蠢的決定則隻字未提,置之不理。


     The financial consequences of these boners are regularly dumped
into massive restructuring charges or write-offs that are casually waved
off as "nonrecurring." Managements just love these. Indeed, in recent
years it has seemed that no earnings statement is complete without
them. The origins of these charges, though, are never explored. When it
comes to corporate blunders, CEOs invoke the concept of the Virgin
Birth.

這類錯誤投資最後的下場往往是在財報上一次打銷提列非常損失,專業經理人最
喜歡這樣搞,這使得近年來這類"不常"發生的科目,反而成為一般公司的損益表
上的常客,至於它發生的原因則沒有人願意花時間去深究,CEO通常將它們歸
類為無性生殖。


     To get back to our examination of GEICO: There are at least four
factors that could account for the increased costs we experienced in
obtaining new business last year, and all probably contributed in some
manner.

回到GEICO的檢討,去年取得成本大幅增加主要歸咎於四個原因,且全部都有
一個共通點。


     First, in our advertising we have pushed "frequency" very hard, and
we probably overstepped in certain media. We’ve always known that
increasing the number of messages through any medium would
eventually produce diminishing returns. The third ad in an hour on a
given cable channel is simply not going to be as effective as the first.


首先,我們的廣告頻率過高,在某些媒體的曝光實在是過度頻繁,大家知道大量
且密集透過媒體傳遞訊息的效果絕對是遞減的,同樣在有線電視,一個小時內連
續第三波的廣告,其效果絕對比不上第一波。

     Second, we may have already picked much of the low-hanging fruit.
Clearly, the willingness to do business with a direct marketer of
insurance varies widely among individuals: Indeed, some percentage of
Americans - particularly older ones - are reluctant to make direct
purchases of any kind. Over the years, however, this reluctance will ebb.
A new generation with new habits will find the savings from direct
purchase of their auto insurance too compelling to ignore.

其次,所有的軟柿子可能都已經被我們給撿光了,很明顯的,雖然願意經由直效
行銷參與投保的客戶群分布甚廣,但不論如何,老一輩的人就是不願透過這種管
道投保,當然時間站在我們這一邊,這種排斥感終究會消退,新一代樂於接受新
事物的年輕人,很快就會發現透過直接投保可以為他們省下大筆的保費。


     Another factor that surely decreased the conversion of inquiries into
sales was stricter underwriting by GEICO. Both the frequency and
severity of losses increased during the year, and rates in certain areas
became inadequate, in some cases substantially so. In these instances,
we necessarily tightened our underwriting standards. This tightening,
as well as the many rate increases we put in during the year, made our
offerings less attractive to some prospects.

另外一個肯定會降低成交率的因素是GEICO的投保資格審核趨嚴,去年不管是
事故發生的頻率與嚴重性都提高,使得某些地區的費率變得不合理,在這種情況
下,我們必須提高承保的標準,同時提高費率,這兩項變動使得我們相對於其他
對手的競爭力略微下降。


     A high percentage of callers, it should be emphasized, can still save
money by insuring with us. Understandably, however, some prospects
will switch to save $200 per year but will not switch to save $50.
Therefore, rate increases that bring our prices closer to those of our
competitors will hurt our acceptance rate, even when we continue to
offer the best deal.

當然我必須強調,對於大部分打電話上門投保的顧客來說,還他們是可以省下一
大筆錢,不過比起過去可以省下200美元,現在只能省50美元,其吸引力確
實大不如前,所以費率提升使得我們的價格與其他同業相近,絕對會影響我們在
客戶間受歡迎的程度。


     Finally, the competitive picture changed in at least one important
respect: State Farm - by far the largest personal auto insurer, with about
19% of the market - has been very slow to raise prices. Its costs,
however, are clearly increasing right along with those of the rest of the
industry. Consequently, State Farm had an underwriting loss last year
from auto insurance (including rebates to policyholders) of 18% of
premiums, compared to 4% at GEICO. Our loss produced a float cost for
us of 6.1%, an unsatisfactory result. (Indeed, at GEICO we expect float,
over time, to be free.) But we estimate that State Farm’s float cost in
2000 was about 23%. The willingness of the largest player in the
industry to tolerate such a cost makes the economics difficult for other
participants.

最後,產險業的競爭版圖產生了一項重大變化,那就是目前排名第一市佔率約
19%的State Farm,對於費率調整的反應速度相當緩慢,雖然他的成本的增加
幅度肯定與其他同業不相上下,State Farm去年的承保損失率(包含回饋保戶的
退佣)高達18%,相較之下GEICO則只有4%,即便如此我們浮存金的成本也高
達6.1%,(相對於我們預估長期成本為零,這種結果當然不令人滿意),我們估
算State Farm 2000年的浮存金成本將高達23%,而當市場上最大的玩家,竟
然願意忍受如此高的經營成本,其他業者的處境就可想而知了。


     That does not take away from the fact that State Farm is one of
America’s greatest business stories. I’ve urged that the company be
studied at business schools because it has achieved fabulous success
while following a path that in many ways defies the dogma of those
institutions. Studying counter-evidence is a highly useful activity,
though not one always greeted with enthusiasm at citadels of learning.

不過這仍然無損於State Farm身為美國企業最偉大的傳奇故事之一,我不斷建
議商學院應該把這家成功的企業列為課堂的教材,因為他的成功過程有許多是挑
戰學術單位的教條,研究相反的例證是相當有用的方法,雖然並不是所有人都喜
歡在學術殿堂中熱烈地把它拿來討論。


     State Farm was launched in 1922, by a 45-year-old, semi-retired
Illinois farmer, to compete with long-established insurers - haughty
institutions in New York, Philadelphia and Hartford - that possessed
overwhelming advantages in capital, reputation, and distribution.
Because State Farm is a mutual company, its board members and
managers could not be owners, and it had no access to capital markets
during its years of fast growth. Similarly, the business never had the
stock options or lavish salaries that many people think vital if an
American enterprise is to attract able managers and thrive.

State Farm成立於1922年,由伊利諾州一位45歲半退休的農夫所創立,當
初他是為了與紐約、費城與Hartfold長期壟斷的傲慢保險業者對抗才成立State
Farm的,相對於前者擁有資本、信譽與通路等強大優勢,由於State Farm是
合作社性質,所以他的董事與經理人不得擁有股份,因此在早期高成長時期,無
法得到資本市場的資金挹注,同時他們也沒有一般公司認為吸引優秀經理人賴以
生存絕對必要的認股選擇權或高額薪水。


     In the end, however, State Farm eclipsed all its competitors. In fact,
by 1999 the company had amassed a tangible net worth exceeding that
of all but four American businesses. If you want to read how this
happened, get a copy of The Farmer from Merna.

然後到最後,State Farm竟擊敗所有競爭對手,事實上截至1999年,該公司
的淨值僅次於其他四家美國大企業,如果你想知道他們是如何辦到的,想辦法弄
一本"來自Merna的農夫"來看看。


     Despite State Farm’s strengths, however, GEICO has much the better
business model, one that embodies significantly lower operating costs.
And, when a company is selling a product with commodity-like
economic characteristics, being the low-cost producer is all-important.
This enduring competitive advantage of GEICO - one it possessed in
1951 when, as a 20-year-old student, I first became enamored with its
stock - is the reason that over time it will inevitably increase its market
share significantly while simultaneously achieving excellent profits. Our
growth will be slow, however, if State Farm elects to continue bearing
the underwriting losses that it is now suffering.


盡管面對State Farm的強大優勢,GEICO依然擁有更好的商業模式,其營運成
本相當低,這個特點在一個已經一般商品化的產業中尤其重要,GEICO這項競
爭優勢早上1951年,我還是一個21歲的學生時便是如此,當時我便因此為這
家公司著迷,並認為隨著時間的過去,他的市場佔有率以及獲利絕對能夠穩定提
升,當然如果State Farm決定繼續忍受現在這樣的承保損失的話,GEICO的成
長勢必將受到影響而減緩。


     Tony Nicely, GEICO’s CEO, remains an owner’s dream. Everything he
does makes sense. He never engages in wishful thinking or otherwise
distorts reality, as so many managers do when the unexpected happens.
As 2000 unfolded, Tony cut back on advertising that was not cost-
effective, and he will continue to do that in 2001 if cutbacks are called
for (though we will always maintain a massive media presence). Tony
has also aggressively filed for price increases where we need them. He
looks at the loss reports every day and is never behind the curve. To
steal a line from a competitor, we are in good hands with Tony.


Tom Nicely-GEICO公司的CEO,依然還是老闆們夢寐以求的經營長才,他所
作的一切都切中要點,當意外發生時,他從來不會像其他經理人一樣將時間浪費
在妄想逃避或扭曲事實上,2000年開始,他大舉砍掉不具成本效益的廣告,展
望2001年若有必要他仍將繼續維持相同的做法,(雖然我們依然會維持大量的
媒體曝光率),若有需要,Tony絕對會大幅的調漲保費價格,他每天都盯著報表,
永遠不落於人後,想要從競爭對手那邊扳回一城,我們絕對是Tony的好幫手。


     I’ve told you about our profit-sharing arrangement at GEICO that
targets only two variables - growth in policies and the underwriting
results of seasoned business. Despite the headwinds of 2000, we still
had a performance that produced an 8.8% profit-sharing payment,
amounting to $40.7 million.

過去我曾經向各位說明,GEICO的利潤分享計畫主要繫於兩項因素1)是保費收
入增長的比率;2)是續約保戶的承保獲利表現,盡管面對2000年的產業逆境,
我們仍然發出了約當8.8%年薪的獎金,金額約為4,070萬美元。


     GEICO will be a huge part of Berkshire’s future. Because of its rock-
bottom operating costs, it offers a great many Americans the cheapest
way to purchase a high-ticket product that they must buy. The company
then couples this bargain with service that consistently ranks high in
independent surveys. That’s a combination inevitably producing growth
and profitability.


GEICO在Berkshire的未來仍將扮演相當重要的角色,由於其徹頭徹尾的低營
運成本,它能夠提供美國大眾最低消費最高品質的產品,這家公司所提供的服務
在各項消費者調查報告中一直名列前茅,這樣的組合將可確保公司繼續維持成長
與獲利的態勢。

     In just the last few years, far more drivers have learned to associate
the GEICO brand with saving money on their insurance. We will pound
that theme relentlessly until all Americans are aware of the value that we
offer.

近幾年來,越來越多的駕駛人知道與GEICO投保可以省下大筆的保費,我們仍
將繼續大力宣傳直到所有美國人都知道我們的價值所在為止。


Investments

股票投資


    The exception was shoes, particularly at Dexter. In our shoe
businesses generally, our attempt to keep the bulk of our production in
domestic factories has cost us dearly. We face another very tough year
in 2001 also, as we make significant changes in how we do business.

去年,我們旗下的製造、零售與服務業的表現都相當不錯,唯一的例外是製鞋業,
尤其是Dexter,為了讓所有的製造據點盡量留在美國境內,我們付出了極大的
代價,即便我們之後做了一番調整,但2001年仍將是辛苦的一年。


     I clearly made a mistake in paying what I did for Dexter in 1993.
Furthermore, I compounded that mistake in a huge way by using
Berkshire shares in payment. Last year, to recognize my error, we
charged off all the remaining accounting goodwill that was attributable
to the Dexter transaction. We may regain some economic goodwill at
Dexter in the future, but we clearly have none at present.

事後看來,我在1993年斥資買下Dexter根本是個錯誤,更慘的是當時我還是
用Berkshire股份換來的,為此我們在去年將當初帳上購入Dexter所有的商譽
一次打銷掉,雖然部份商譽在未來可能有機會回復,但就目前而言,該公司的商
譽可說是一毛不值。


     The managers of our shoe businesses are first-class from both a
business and human perspective. They are working very hard at a tough
- and often terribly painful - job, even though their personal financial
circumstances don’t require them to do so. They have my admiration
and thanks.

於公於私我們製鞋事業的經理人都稱得上是一流的,他們在非常艱苦的環境下努
力工作,即便他們早已不必為了五斗米而折腰,為此我衷心地佩服並感謝他們。


     On a more pleasant note, we continue to be the undisputed leader in
two branches of Aircraft Services - pilot training at FlightSafety (FSI) and
fractional ownership of business jets at Executive Jet (EJA). Both
companies are run by their remarkable founders.

另外一方面,我們很高興能繼續在兩項航空服務業中稱霸-一是飛行員訓練的國
際飛安公司(FSI),一是部份飛機所有權的主管專機公司(EJA),兩家公司目前依
然由其傑出的創辦人經營著。


     Al Ueltschi at FSI is now 83 and continues to operate at full throttle.
Though I am not a fan of stock splits, I am planning to split Al’s age 2-
for-1 when he hits 100. (If it works, guess who’s next.)

FSI的Al Ueltschi今年83歲,目前仍然處於全速前進的狀態,雖然我本身不喜
歡股票分割這玩意兒,但我卻計畫在Al 100歲時,將他的年齡一分為二。(如果
此舉確實可行,大家應該猜得到下一個會輪到誰!)


     We spent $272 million on flight simulators in 2000, and we’ll spend
a similar amount this year. Anyone who thinks that the annual charges
for depreciation don’t reflect a real cost - every bit as real as payroll or
raw materials - should get an internship at a simulator company. Every
year we spend amounts equal to our depreciation charge simply to stay
in the same economic place - and then spend additional sums to grow.
And growth is in prospect for FSI as far as the eye can see.


2000年我們投資2.72億美元在購買飛行模擬器上頭,今年的投資金額也約當
此數,有誰膽敢說每年的折舊費用不算是真正的成本的,應該請他到飛行模擬公
司打打工,讓他知道每一分折舊都跟薪資或原料成本一樣真實,每一年我們都必
須投入約當於折舊金額的資金在更新設備上,以維持既有的競爭優勢,而如果我
們想要成長的話,就必須再投入額外的資金,對於FSI而言,其目前成長的前景
依然可期。

     Even faster growth awaits EJA (whose fractional-ownership program
is called NetJetsR). Rich Santulli is the dynamo behind this business.

另一方面,成長更快速的是EJA(其飛機部份所有權稱之為NetJet),Rich Santulli
是背後主要的推手。


     Last year I told you that EJA’s recurring revenue from monthly
management fees and hourly usage grew by 46% in 1999. In 2000 the
growth was 49%. I also told you that this was a low-margin business, in
which survivors will be few. Margins were indeed slim at EJA last year, in
part because of the major costs we are incurring in developing our
business in Europe.

去年,我告訴大家EJA 1999年每月固定的管理費加上鐘點費成長了46%,到了
2000年成長幅度增加為49%,我也曾向各位報告說這個行業的毛利不高,所以
能夠存活的家數不多,去年EJA的利潤率確實相當微薄,部份的原因是因為我們
正在努力擴展歐洲的業務當中。


     Regardless of the cost, you can be sure that EJA’s spending on safety
will be whatever is needed. Obviously, we would follow this policy under
any circumstances, but there’s some self-interest here as well: I, my
wife, my children, my sisters, my 94-year-old aunt, all but one of our
directors, and at least nine Berkshire managers regularly fly in the
NetJets program. Given that cargo, I applaud Rich’s insistence on
unusually high amounts of pilot training (an average of 23 days a year).
In addition, our pilots cement their skills by flying 800 or so hours a
year. Finally, each flies only one model of aircraft, which means our
crews do no switching around among planes with different cockpit and
flight characteristics.

不論成本有多高,只要是為了安全考量,EJA願意不惜血本,在任何情況下,我
們都會堅持這項政策,因為這其中還摻雜有個人的因素在裡頭,包含我本人、內
人、小孩、姊妹、高齡94歲的阿姨、Berkshire的所有董事(除了一位例外)以
及其他9位主要經理人都是NetJet的常客,在這裡我要特別為Rich維持飛行員
一年平均達23天高時數訓練的堅持給予掌聲,此外我們的飛行員一年平均都維
持800小時以上的飛行時數以強化本身的飛行技巧,同時每位飛行員只固定飛
一種機型,這意思是說,他們不必常常在不同種飛機機艙間換來換去。


     EJA’s business continues to be constrained by the availability of new
aircraft. Still, our customers will take delivery of more than 50 new jets
in 2001, 7% of world output. We are confident we will remain the world
leader in fractional ownership, in respect to number of planes flying,
quality of service, and standards of safety.

雖然EJA的業務依然受限於飛機供給有限的數量,但是2001年至少有50架飛
機會加入服務的行列,這約佔全世界飛機出廠數量的7%,我們有信心可以繼續
在部份飛機所有權這行業中維持領先的地位,不管是以飛機數量、服務品質以及
安全可靠性來說,皆是如此。


* * * * * * * * * *

     Additional information about our various businesses is given on
pages 42-58, where you will also find our segment earnings reported
on a GAAP basis. In addition, on pages 67-73, we have rearranged
Berkshire’s financial data into four segments on a non-GAAP basis, a
presentation that corresponds to the way Charlie and I think about the
company.

有關其他關係企業的資訊大家可以在42-58頁找到,包含依照一般公認會計準
則編製的部門別資訊,此外在67-73頁,你還可以找到經過重編,依照Berkshire
四大部門編排的資訊(非按一般公認會計準則編製),這是查理跟我認為最能夠完
整呈現Berkshire現況的模式。

 

Look-Through Earnings
完整透視盈餘

 

     Reported earnings are an inadequate measure of economic progress
at Berkshire, in part because the numbers shown in the table on page 15
include only the dividends we receive from investees - though these
dividends typically represent only a small fraction of the earnings
attributable to our ownership. To depict something closer to economic
reality at Berkshire than reported earnings, though, we employ the
concept of "look-through" earnings. As we calculate these, they consist
of: (1) the operating earnings reported on page 15; plus; (2) our share of
the retained operating earnings of major investees that, under GAAP
accounting, are not reflected in our profits, less; (3) an allowance for the
tax that would be paid by Berkshire if these retained earnings of
investees had instead been distributed to us. When tabulating
"operating earnings" here, we exclude purchase-accounting
adjustments as well as capital gains and other major non-recurring
items.

我們認為帳列盈餘很難表現Berkshire實際的營運狀況,部份原因在於第15頁
列示在本公司帳上的股利收入,事實上僅佔被投資公司收益的一小部份,為了要
更真實的反應Berkshire實際的經營狀況,於是乎我們運用了完整透視盈餘的觀
念,這個數字總共包含(1)前段第15頁所提到的帳列盈餘,加上(2)主要被投資
公司的保留盈餘,按一般公認會計原則未反應在我們公司帳上的盈餘,扣除(3)
若這些未反應的盈餘分配給我們時,估計可能要繳的所得稅。在這裡我們所謂的
營業盈餘係已扣除資本利得、特別會計調整與企業其他非常態的項目。

Full and Fair Reporting
詳實客觀的財務報告


     At Berkshire, full reporting means giving you the information that we
would wish you to give to us if our positions were reversed. What Charlie
and I would want under that circumstance would be all the important
facts about current operations as well as the CEO’s frank view of the
long-term economic characteristics of the business. We would expect
both a lot of financial details and a discussion of any significant data we
would need to interpret what was presented.

在Berkshire,所謂詳實的報告代表著今天如果角色互換,我希望各位能夠提供
所有我們想要知道的資訊,這包含了目前經營的重大訊息以及CEO對於公司長
遠發展的真正看法,當然要解釋這些訊息必須輔以相關的財務資料。


     When Charlie and I read reports, we have no interest in pictures of
personnel, plants or products. References to EBITDA make us shudder -
does management think the tooth fairy pays for capital expenditures?
We’re very suspicious of accounting methodology that is vague or
unclear, since too often that means management wishes to hide
something. And we don’t want to read messages that a public relations
department or consultant has turned out. Instead, we expect a
company’s CEO to explain in his or her own words what’s happening.

當查理跟我在閱讀財務報告時,我們對於人員、工廠或產品的介紹沒有多大興
趣,有關扣除折舊攤銷稅負利息前的盈餘(EBITDA)的引用更讓我們膽顫心驚,
難道經營階層真的認為拿牙齒就可以換來大筆的資本支出嗎?(註:美國小孩相信
牙齒掉時,只要把牙齒藏在枕頭底下,tooth fairy就會拿錢來換你的牙齒),對
於那些模擬不清的會計原則,我們一向抱持懷疑的態度,因為經營階層通常都會
藉此掩蓋來一些事實,此外我們也不想讀那些由公關部門或顧問所提供的資料,
我們希望能夠由CEO自己親自解釋實際發生的狀況。


     For us, fair reporting means getting information to our 300,000
"partners" simultaneously, or as close to that mark as possible. We
therefore put our annual and quarterly financials on the Internet
between the close of the market on a Friday and the following morning.
By our doing that, shareholders and other interested investors have
timely access to these important releases and also have a reasonable
amount of time to digest the information they include before the
markets open on Monday. This year our quarterly information will be
available on the Saturdays of May 12, August 11, and November 10. The
2001 annual report will be posted on March 9.


對我們來說,詳實的報告代表我們30萬位合夥人可以同時得到相同的資訊,至
少能夠盡可能地做到,因此我們習慣將季報與年報在星期五收盤後透過網路統一
對外公佈,如此一來,股東們與所有關心Berkshire的投資人都可以及時的得到
重要的訊息,同時在星期一開盤之前,有足夠的時間吸收消化相關的資訊,今年
我們的季報分別會在5月12號、8月11號及11月10號星期六公佈,至於
2001年的年報則會在3月9號公開。

     We applaud the work that Arthur Levitt, Jr., until recently Chairman
of the SEC, has done in cracking down on the corporate practice of
"selective disclosure" that had spread like cancer in recent years.
Indeed, it had become virtually standard practice for major corporations
to "guide" analysts or large holders to earnings expectations that were
intended either to be on the nose or a tiny bit below what the company
truly expected to earn. Through the selectively dispersed hints, winks
and nods that companies engaged in, speculatively-minded institutions
and advisors were given an information edge over investment-oriented
individuals. This was corrupt behavior, unfortunately embraced by both
Wall Street and corporate America.

對於證管會主席Arthur Levitt近來大力打擊企業如癌症般擴散的選擇性透露做
法喝采,確實近年來許多大企業習慣引導分析師或大股東的盈餘預估剛好符合公
司本身的盈餘預期(或只差一點)幾乎已成常態,透過選擇性地揭露資訊,不論公
司是如何擠眉弄眼,投機性的機構法人與投資顧問因此得到比以投資為導向的散
戶更多的內線,這實在是一種墮落的行為,不幸的這在華爾街與美國企業間廣受
歡迎。


     Thanks to Chairman Levitt, whose general efforts on behalf of
investors were both tireless and effective, corporations are now
required to treat all of their owners equally. The fact that this reform
came about because of coercion rather than conscience should be a
matter of shame for CEOs and their investor relations departments.


由於Levitt主席為投資人所做的努力,美國企業現在才得以被要求要公平對待
所有的股東與投資人,同時我們也為這些CEO與公關部門基於被動而非主動才
這樣做感到羞恥。

     One further thought while I’m on my soapbox: Charlie and I think it
is both deceptive and dangerous for CEOs to predict growth rates for
their companies. They are, of course, frequently egged on to do so by
both analysts and their own investor relations departments. They
should resist, however, because too often these predictions lead to
trouble.

最後站在這個肥皂箱上,我再發表一點個人的看法,那就是查理跟我認為CEO
預估公司未來成長率是相當危險且不當的,他們通常是在分析師與公關部門要求
下才這樣做的,但我認為他們應該要堅決抗拒,因為這樣做通常會惹來許多不必
要的麻煩。


     It’s fine for a CEO to have his own internal goals and, in our view, it’s
even appropriate for the CEO to publicly express some hopes about the
future, if these expectations are accompanied by sensible caveats. But
for a major corporation to predict that its per-share earnings will grow
over the long term at, say, 15% annually is to court trouble.


CEO自己心中有一個目標不是件壞事,甚至我們認為CEO公開發表個人心中的
願景是很好的一件事,如果這些期望能夠附帶合理的條件,但如果一家大公司公
開的宣稱每股盈餘長期可以維持15%的年成長率的話,那肯定會招致許多不必
要的麻煩。

     That’s true because a growth rate of that magnitude can only be
maintained by a very small percentage of large businesses. Here’s a
test: Examine the record of, say, the 200 highest earning companies
from 1970 or 1980 and tabulate how many have increased per-share
earnings by 15% annually since those dates. You will find that only a
handful have. I would wager you a very significant sum that fewer than
10 of the 200 most profitable companies in 2000 will attain 15% annual
growth in earnings-per-share over the next 20 years.

其原因在於這種高標準只有在極少數的企業才有可能做得到,讓我們做一個簡單
的測試,根據歷史記錄,1970年與1980年代,在200家盈餘最高的公司當
中,算算到底有幾家在此之後能夠繼續維持15%的年盈餘成長率,你會發現,
能夠達到這個目標的公司少之又少,我可以跟你打賭,在2000年獲利最高的
200家公司當中,能夠在接下來的20年年平均成長率達到15%的公司,絕對不
超過10家。


     The problem arising from lofty predictions is not just that they
spread unwarranted optimism. Even more troublesome is the fact that
they corrode CEO behavior. Over the years, Charlie and I have observed
many instances in which CEOs engaged in uneconomic operating
maneuvers so that they could meet earnings targets they had
announced. Worse still, after exhausting all that operating acrobatics
would do, they sometimes played a wide variety of accounting games to
"make the numbers." These accounting shenanigans have a way of
snowballing: Once a company moves earnings from one period to
another, operating shortfalls that occur thereafter require it to engage
in further accounting maneuvers that must be even more "heroic."
These can turn fudging into fraud. (More money, it has been noted, has
been stolen with the point of a pen than at the point of a gun.)


過高的預估不但造成沒有根據的樂觀,麻煩的是此舉還會導致CEO行為的腐
化,這麼多年來,查理跟我已經看過很多CEO不專注於本業而熱衷於運用一些
非經濟的手段來達成他們先前所做的盈餘預估,更糟的的是,在用盡營運上的各
種手段之後,被逼得走投無路的經理人最後還會運用各種會計方法無所不用其極
的做假帳,這種會計騙術會產生滾雪球效應,一旦今天你挪用以後的盈餘,明天
你就要變本加厲地挪用以後的盈餘,到最後從造假演變為貪污,(畢竟用筆偷錢
要比用槍搶錢要來得容易得多了)。


     Charlie and I tend to be leery of companies run by CEOs who woo
investors with fancy predictions. A few of these managers will prove
prophetic - but others will turn out to be congenital optimists, or even
charlatans. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for investors to know in advance
which species they are dealing with.

查理跟我對於那些習慣以絢麗的盈餘預估吸引投資人的CEO所帶領的公司,總
是報以懷疑的態度,或許少數的經理人確實能說到做到,但大部分的經理人最後
都變成無可救藥的樂觀派,甚至可以說是騙子,不幸的是,投資人實在是很難事
先分辨出他們到底是在跟哪一種人打交道。


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

     I’ve warned you in the past that you should not believe everything
you read or hear about Berkshire - even when it is published or
broadcast by a prestigious news organization. Indeed, erroneous
reports are particularly dangerous when they are circulated by highly-
respected members of the media, simply because most readers and
listeners know these outlets to be generally credible and therefore
believe what they say.

過去我就一再警告大家千萬不要將你在外面聽到或讀到有關Berkshire的任何
消息信以為真,即使這消息來自最具權威的新聞單位也一樣,錯誤報導的殺傷力
確實相當高,特別是它們是從令人崇敬的媒體人士口中傳出來的,因為讀者與觀
眾一向傾向相信這些管道所傳出來的訊息。


     An example is a glaring error about Berkshire’s activities that
appeared in the December 29 issue of The Wall Street Journal, a
generally excellent paper that I have for all of my life found useful. On
the front page (and above the fold, as they say) The Journal published a
news brief that said, in unequivocal terms, that we were buying bonds of
Conseco and Finova. This item directed the reader to the lead story of
the Money and Investing section. There, in the second paragraph of the
story, The Journal reported, again without any qualification, that
Berkshire was buying Conseco and Finova bonds, adding that Berkshire
had invested "several hundred million dollars" in each. Only in the 18th
paragraph of the story (which by that point had jumped to an inside
page) did the paper hedge a bit, saying that our Conseco purchases had
been disclosed by "people familiar with the matter."


有關Berkshire錯誤訊息最離譜的是刊登在12月29號華爾街日報的一則新
聞,那是一份一直以來我認為相當有用的報紙,在當天的頭版上(而且是頭條),
刊登了一則簡短的訊息,以肯定的語氣報導Berkshire正大舉買進Conseco與
Finova的公司債,這條消息又導引讀者到投資理財專欄的專題報導,在那篇文
章的第二段,華爾街日報再一次毫無保留的指出Berkshire正積極買進Conseco
與Finova的公司債,並強調金額已達數億美元之譜,只有到了文章的第18段(那
時文章已換到新聞的內頁),文章才含蓄地表示買進Conseco的消息是由熟悉內
情的人士所透露。


Well, not that familiar. True, we had purchased bonds and bank debt of
Finova - though the report was wildly inaccurate as to the amount. But
to this day neither Berkshire nor I have ever bought a share of stock or a
bond of Conseco.

嗯! 這篇報導不太對,沒錯,我們確實買進Finova的公司債與銀行債權,只是
金額與報紙所說的有很大的出入,而但到目前為止,Berkshire公司以及我本人
從來就沒有買進過Conseco任何的股份或者是債券。


     Berkshire is normally covered by a Journal reporter in Chicago who is
both accurate and conscientious. In this case, however, the "scoop" was
the product of a New York reporter for the paper. Indeed, the 29th was a
busy day for him: By early afternoon, he had repeated the story on
CNBC. Immediately, in lemming-like manner, other respected news
organizations, relying solely on the Journal, began relating the same
"facts." The result: Conseco stock advanced sharply during the day on
exceptional volume that placed it ninth on the NYSE most-active list.

有一位芝加哥報紙的記者長期追蹤Berkshire,其報導就相當詳實嚴謹,至於這
一回,這則"獨家新聞"則是紐約報社記者所捅的僂子,我想29號當天應該是他
相當忙碌的一天,因為下午他又在CNBC重複相同的報導,過了不久,一窩蜂
效應產生,其他的新聞媒體開始跟進爭相報導相關新聞,其根據來源就完全只靠
這則報導,結果竟造成Conseco的股價在當天爆量大漲,成為當天紐約交易所
前十大成交量的公司之一。


     During all of the story’s iterations, I never heard or read the word
"rumor." Apparently reporters and editors, who generally pride
themselves on their careful use of language, just can’t bring themselves
to attach this word to their accounts. But what description would fit
more precisely? Certainly not the usual "sources say" or "it has been
reported."

在整篇報導當中,我沒有看到或聽到"謠傳"這個字眼,很顯然的,一向對於以使
用語言相當謹慎而自豪記者與編輯,實在是很難將這個字眼引用在自己的報導當
中,然而到底該用什麼樣的方式來形容呢? 我想應該也不是"消息來源指出"或是
"據報導"等。


     A column entitled "Today’s Rumors," however, would not equate with
the self-image of the many news organizations that think themselves
above such stuff. These members of the media would feel that
publishing such acknowledged fluff would be akin to L’Osservatore
Romano initiating a gossip column. But rumors are what these
organizations often publish and broadcast, whatever euphemism they
duck behind. At a minimum, readers deserve honest terminology - a
warning label that will protect their financial health in the same way that
smokers whose physical health is at risk are given a warning.

若把這個專欄取名為"今日謠傳",這實在是很難讓新聞媒體將之與自我形象劃上
等號,這些新聞從業人員可能會覺得刊登這類明顯的錯誤就好像是
L'Osservatore Romano(編按:該報專門追蹤教宗與教廷的訊息)開闢了一個小
道消息專欄一樣,這些媒體機構確實經常廣泛報導各種未經證實的謠言,不管他
們用了多少藉口作推托,最起碼,讀者應該看到誠實的用語-以保護投資人本身
的財產身家,這就好像香煙盒上都會印有請吸菸者注意本身身體健康的警語。


     The Constitution’s First Amendment allows the media to print or say
almost anything. Journalism’s First Principle should require that the
media be scrupulous in deciding what that will be.

美國憲法第一修正案允許媒體自由刊登或發表任何資訊,但新聞學的第一項原則
卻要求媒體在判斷此真義時必須要小心謹慎。


Miscellaneous
其他事項


     In last year’s report we examined the battle then raging over the use
of "pooling" in accounting for mergers. It seemed to us that both sides
were voicing arguments that were strong in certain respects and
seriously flawed in others. We are pleased that the Financial Accounting
Standards Board has since gone to an alternative approach that strikes
us as very sound.


去年年報我們檢討企業購併時是否能使用"權益結合法"的論戰,看起來兩方的論
點各有其立場,但也有各自的缺點,在此之後,我們欣然見到財務會計準則委員
會提出了一個替代方法讓我們覺得相當滿意。

     If the proposed rule becomes final, we will no longer incur a large
annual charge for amortization of intangibles. Consequently, our
reported earnings will more closely reflect economic reality. (See page
65.) None of this will have an effect on Berkshire’s intrinsic value. Your
Chairman, however, will personally benefit in that there will be one less
item to explain in these letters.

如果這個提案獲得採用,以後我們每年將可以不必再提列大筆的無形資產攤銷費
用,我們的帳列盈餘也因此更能夠真實反映實際的經營狀況,(請參閱第65頁),
雖然這些都不會影響到Berkshire本身的實質價值,但身為公司的董事會主席,
我個人將可因此不必在這一方面再多費唇舌。


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

     I’m enclosing a report - generously supplied by Outstanding
Investor Digest - of Charlie’s remarks at last May’s Wesco annual
meeting. Charlie thinks about business economics and investment
matters better than anyone I know, and I’ve learned a lot over the years
by listening to him. Reading his comments will improve your
understanding of Berkshire.

這裡我檢附了一份廣為傑出投資人文摘散發的報告-那是查理在去年五月
Wesco股東年會的一番談話,查理在企業經營與股票投資方面的見解一向比我
更深刻,而我個人更從他身上受益匪淺,閱讀他的評論絕對有助於你對
Berkshire的了解。


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

     In 1985, we purchased Scott Fetzer, acquiring not only a fine
business but the services of Ralph Schey, a truly outstanding CEO, as
well. Ralph was then 61. Most companies, focused on the calendar
rather than ability, would have benefited from Ralph’s talents for only a
few years.

1985年我們買下史考特飛茲,買到的不但一家公司,還附帶一位優秀的經理人
-Ralph Schey,當時Ralph 61歲,對大部分注重年齡而非能力的公司來說,
Ralph為其服務的時日可能已不多。


     At Berkshire, in contrast, Ralph ran Scott Fetzer for 15 years until his
retirement at the end of 2000. Under his leadership, the company
distributed $1.03 billion to Berkshire against our net purchase price of
$230 million. We used these funds, in turn, to purchase other
businesses. All told, Ralph’s contributions to Berkshire’s present value
extend well into the billions of dollars.

但是在Berkshire卻正好相反,Ralph之後又在史考特飛茲待了15年,直到
2000年底他正式退休為止,在他的領導的期間,相較於當初2.3億美元的買進
成本,該公司前前後後總共貢獻了10.3億美元的盈餘給Berkshire,而我們又
利用這些資金再買進其他的企業,算下來,Ralph為Berkshire所貢獻的價值可
能已超過數十億美元。


     As a manager, Ralph belongs in Berkshire’s Hall of Fame, and Charlie
and I welcome him to it.

身為一位專業經理人,Ralph絕對可以列入Berkshire的名人堂,查理跟我本身
歡迎他的加入。


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

     A bit of nostalgia: It was exactly 50 years ago that I entered Ben
Graham’s class at Columbia. During the decade before, I had enjoyed -
make that loved - analyzing, buying and selling stocks. But my results
were no better than average.

又到了懷舊時間,約莫50年前,我在哥倫比亞大學修了葛拉罕老師的課,在此
之前的十年,我一直盲目地從事分析、買進然後賣出股票的動作,但當時的成績
卻是平平。


     Beginning in 1951 my performance improved. No, I hadn’t changed
my diet or taken up exercise. The only new ingredient was Ben’s ideas.
Quite simply, a few hours spent at the feet of the master proved far
more valuable to me than had ten years of supposedly original thinking.


從1951年起我的投資績效開始改善,並非我改變飲食或運動習慣,唯一的改變
是其間增加了葛拉罕的觀念,當時在大師面前沈浸幾個小時的效果遠遠大於我個
人過去十年來獨自的摸索。

     In addition to being a great teacher, Ben was a wonderful friend. My
debt to him is incalculable.

除了是一位偉大的老師,葛拉罕更是一位難得的摯友,他對我的恩情比天高比海
深。


Shareholder-Designated Contributions
股東指定捐贈計劃

     About 97% of all eligible shares participated in Berkshire's 2000
shareholder-designated contributions program, with contributions
totaling $16.9 million. A full description of the program appears on
pages 74-75.

大約有97%的有效股權參與2000年的股東指定捐贈計劃,捐出的款項總計約
1,690萬美元,有關本計畫詳細的資訊請參閱74-75頁。

     Cumulatively, over the 20 years of the program, Berkshire has made
contributions of $164 million pursuant to the instructions of our
shareholders. The rest of Berkshire's giving is done by our subsidiaries,
which stick to the philanthropic patterns that prevailed before they were
acquired (except that their former owners themselves take on the
responsibility for their personal charities). In aggregate, our
subsidiaries made contributions of $18.3 million in 2000, including
in-kind donations of $3 million.

累計過去20年以來,Berkshire總計已依照股東意願捐贈出高達1.64億美元
的款項,除了之外,Berkshire還透過旗下的子公司進行捐贈,而這些慈善活動
都是早在他們被我們購併以前就行之有年的(先前的老闆自行本身負責的個人捐
贈計畫之外除外),總的來說,我們旗下的關係企業在2000年總計捐出1,830
萬美元,其中包含300萬美元等值的物品。

     To participate in future programs, you must own Class A shares that
are registered in the name of the actual owner, not the nominee name of
a broker, bank or depository. Shares not so registered on August 31,
2001 will be ineligible for the 2001 program. When you get the
contributions form from us, return it promptly so that it does not get
put aside or forgotten. Designations received after the due date will not
be honored.

想要參加這項計畫者,必須擁有A級普通股,同時確定您的股份是登記在自己
而非股票經紀人或保管銀行的名下,同時必須在2001年8月31日之前完成登
記,才有權利參與2001年的捐贈計畫,當你收到表格後,請立即填寫後寄回,
以免被丟在一旁給忘記了,逾期恕不受理。

The Annual Meeting
年度股東大會

     Last year we moved the annual meeting to the Civic Auditorium, and
it worked very well for us. We will meet there again on Saturday, April
28. The doors will open at 7 a.m., the movie will begin at 8:30, and the
meeting itself will commence at 9:30. There will be a short break at
noon for food, with sandwiches available at the Civic’s concession
stands. Except for that interlude, Charlie and I will answer questions
until 3:30.

去年我們將股東會舉辦的地點移到市立體育館,結果令人相當滿意,今年4月
28號星期六我們將再度在這裡聚會,大門會在當天早上七點開放,同時電影短
片照例會在八點半播放,正式會議則從九點半開始,扣除中午短暫的休息時間,
(會場外備有三明治等各類點心),除了中午休息時間外,查理跟我本人會在現場
回答大家各類問題直到下午三點半為止。


     For the next couple of years, the Civic is our only choice. We must
therefore hold the meeting on either Saturday or Sunday to avoid the
traffic and parking nightmare that would occur on a weekday. Shortly,
however, Omaha will have a new Convention Center with ample parking.
Assuming that the Center is then available to us, I will poll shareholders
to see whether you wish to return to a Monday meeting. We will decide
that vote based on the wishes of a majority of shareholders, not shares.

在未來幾年內,市立體育館將是我們唯一的選擇,而為了解決交通與停車問題,
我們只能在星期六或星期天舉行,以避開平日的交通阻塞,所幸在不久之後,奧
瑪哈將會有一個大型的新會議中心誕生,擁有寬敞的停車場,等到這個會議中心
完成之後,我會再發問券詢問大家將會議時間改回星期一的看法,屆時我們將以
股東投票人數而非股權比例來決定。


     An attachment to the proxy material that is enclosed with this report
explains how you can obtain the credential you will need for admission
to this year’s meeting and other events. As for plane, hotel and car
reservations, we have again signed up American Express (800-799-
6634) to give you special help. In our normal fashion, we will run buses
from the larger hotels to the meeting. After the meeting, the buses will
make trips back to the hotels and to Nebraska Furniture Mart,
Borsheim's and the airport. Even so, you are likely to find a car useful.


後面附有股東會開會投票的相關資料,向各位解釋如何拿到入場所許的識別證,
由於預期會有相當多的人與會,我們建議大家最好先預訂機位與住宿,美國運通
(電話800-799-6634)將會很高興為您提供相關安排服務,如同以往,我們會
安排巴士接送大家往返各大旅館與會場之間,並在會後接送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,當然你可能會覺得如何有一輛車會更方便


     We have added so many new companies to Berkshire this year that
I’m not going to detail all of the products that we will be selling at the
meeting. But come prepared to carry home everything from bricks to
candy. One new product, however, deserves special note: Bob Shaw has
designed a 3 x 5 rug featuring an excellent likeness of Charlie.
Obviously, it would be embarrassing for Charlie - make that humiliating
- if slow sales forced us to slash the rug’s price, so step up and do your
part.

今年由於我們又新加入了許多公司,所以我就不再詳細說明在現場會提供什麼產
品供大家選購,總之從糖果到磚塊應有盡有,不過有一項新產品值得特別向各位
推薦,那就是Bob Shaw 專門以查理的形貌所設計3x5 的地毯,很顯然的若這
款地毯銷售情形不佳而迫使我們降價的話,查理的面子可能會掛不住,所以請大
家千萬響應支持他。


     GEICO will have a booth staffed by a number of its top counselors
from around the country, all of them ready to supply you with auto
insurance quotes. In most cases, GEICO will be able to offer you a
special shareholder's discount (usually 8%). Bring the details of your
existing insurance and check out whether we can save you some money.


GEICO公司會再度派出各地區最優秀的業務員,在會場設立攤位,隨時提供股
東們汽車保單的報價,在大多數的情況下,GEICO都可以提供給你一個相當優
惠的股東折扣(大約8%),各位記得將自己現在的投保資料帶來,看看是否能幫
自己省下一筆錢。

     At the Omaha airport on Saturday, we will have the usual array of
aircraft from Executive Jet available for your inspection. Just ask an EJA
representative at the Civic about viewing any of these planes. If you buy
what we consider an appropriate number of items during the weekend,
you may well need your own plane to take them home.

星期六在奧瑪哈機場,我們仍將展示一系列的機隊供大家參觀,請到市立體育館
向EJA的業務代表洽詢參觀的事宜,如果你股東會買了一大推相關產品,我相信
你一定也需要用自己的飛機把它們帶回家。


     At Nebraska Furniture Mart, located on a 75-acre site on 72nd Street
between Dodge and Pacific, we will again be having "Berkshire Weekend"
pricing, which means we will be offering our shareholders a discount
that is customarily given only to employees. We initiated this special
pricing at NFM four years ago and sales during the "Weekend" grew from
$5.3 million in 1997 to $9.1 million in 2000.

位於道奇街與太平洋街的內布拉斯加傢具店NFM,再度會有Berkshire週特價,
我們將特別提供給股東原先只有員工可以享有的優惠價,我們在四年前首次推出
這種促銷活動,營業額更一舉從1997年的530萬美元成長到2000年的910
萬美元。


     To get the discount, you must make your purchases between
Wednesday, April 25 and Monday, April 30 and also present your
meeting credential. The period’s special pricing will even apply to the
products of several prestige manufacturers that normally have ironclad
rules against discounting but that, in the spirit of our shareholder
weekend, have made an exception for you. We appreciate their
cooperation. NFM is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10
a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

想要享有折扣記得在4月25號星期三到4月30號星期一間採購,並出示股東
開會證明,在這期間的特賣活動也適用於許多原本從不打折的頂級品牌,這可是
為了股東會才特別破例,我們很感謝他們的配合,NFM的營業時間平日從早上
10點到下午9點,星期六及星期日則從早上10點到下午6點。


     Borsheim's - the largest jewelry store in the country except for
Tiffany's Manhattan store - will have two shareholder-only events. The
first will be a cocktail reception from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, April
27. The second, the main gala, will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday,
April 29. Shareholder prices will be available Thursday through Monday,
so if you wish to avoid the large crowds that will assemble on Friday
evening and Sunday, come at other times and identify yourself as a
shareholder. On Saturday, we will be open until 6 p.m. Borsheim's
operates on a gross margin that is fully twenty percentage points below
that of its major rivals, so the more you buy, the more you save (or at
least that’s what my family always tells me).

波仙珠寶-全美單店營業額僅次於紐約曼哈頓蒂芬妮的珠寶店,在股東會期間將
會有兩場專為股東舉辦的展覽會,第一場是在四月27日星期五的雞尾酒會,時
間從下午6點到晚上10點,第二場主秀則在四月29日星期天舉行,從早上9
點到下午6點,從星期四到星期一的股東會期間,波仙都將提供股東特惠價,
所以如果你希望避開星期五晚上到星期天的擁擠人潮,你可以在其他的時間上門
光顧,記得表明股東的身分,星期六我們會營業到晚上7點,波仙的營業毛利
要比其他主要競爭對手要低20個百分點以上,所以買得越多省得越多,(這是我
的家人告訴我的)


     In the mall outside of Borsheim's, we will have local bridge experts
available to play with our shareholders on Sunday. Bob Hamman, who
normally is with us, will be in Africa this year. He has promised,
however, to be on hand in 2002. Patrick Wolff, twice U.S. chess
champion, will also be in the mall, taking on all comers - blindfolded!
Last year, Patrick played as many as six games simultaneously - with his
blindfold securely in place - and demolished his opponents.

照例在星期天下午波仙珠寶店外面大廳將舉辦的一場橋牌大賽,橋牌界的傳奇性
人物Bob Hamman,由於今年要到非洲所以不克出席,不過他已經承諾2002
年一定會再度出席。Patrick Wolff-美國棋兩度冠軍,也會再度在會場矇眼與所
有挑戰者對奕,去年他一口氣同時與六位對手下棋,並獲得全勝。


     As if all this isn’t enough to test your skills, our Borsheim’s Olympiad
this year will also include Bill Robertie, one of only two players to twice
win the backgammon world championship. Backgammon can be a big
money game, so bring along your stock certificates.

如果你認為這還不夠看,今年的波仙奧林匹亞棋藝大賽將新增Bill Robertie-兩
度世界雙陸旗冠軍,雙陸旗的賭注通常都不小,所以記得把你的Berkshire股票
帶來。


     Gorat's - my favorite steakhouse - will again be open exclusively for
Berkshire shareholders on Sunday, April 29, and will be serving from 4
p.m. until 10 p.m. Please remember that you can't come to Gorat's on
Sunday without a reservation. To make one, call 402-551-3733 on April
2 (but not before). If Sunday is sold out, try Gorat's on one of the other
evenings you will be in town. If you order a rare T-bone with a double
order of hash browns, you will establish your credentials as an epicure.


我個人最愛的牛排館-Gorat's為了Berkshire股東年會破例在4月29日星期
天開門營業,從下午4點開始營業,一直到晚上10點,請記得星期天事先若沒
有訂位的人請勿前往以免向隅,要預約請在四月2日以後打電話(402-551-
3733),若訂不到星期天的位子,也可以試試其他晚上,如果你點的是丁骨\牛
排加上雙份的牛肉丸的話,你就有資格被稱作是老饕。


     The usual baseball game will be held at Rosenblatt Stadium at 7 p.m.
on Saturday night. This year the Omaha Golden Spikes will play the New
Orleans Zephyrs. Ernie Banks is again going to be on hand to - bravely -
face my fastball (once clocked at 95 mpm - miles per month).

例行的棒球賽將於星期六晚上7點在Rosenblatt體育館舉行,今年奧瑪哈金釘
鞋隊將對上紐奧良西風隊,Rrnie Banks將再度勇敢地站上打擊區面對我的快速
球(據說球速約在95英哩.. .. .. ..每個月!)


     My performance last year was not my best: It took me five pitches to
throw anything resembling a strike. And, believe me, it gets lonely on
the mound when you can’t find the plate. Finally, I got one over, and
Ernie lashed a line drive to left field. After I was yanked from the game,
the many sports writers present asked what I had served up to Ernie. I
quoted what Warren Spahn said after Willie Mays hit one of his pitches
for a home run (Willie’s first in the majors): "It was a helluva pitch for the
first sixty feet."

去年我的表現未達最佳狀態,我投了五次才勉強丟出一記好球,相信我,當你在
投手丘上卻找不到本壘板時的感覺有多孤單,最後我勉強擠出一記好球,Ernie
將之擊到左外野,在我被拉出球場後,許多運動記者問我對上Ernie時作何感想?
我引述Warren Spahn在被Willie Mays擊出全壘打時所說的話(那是Willie大
聯盟的第一發全壘打):「這真是一個好的開始。」


     It will be a different story this year. I don’t want to tip my hand, so
let’s just say Ernie will have to deal with a pitch he has never seen
before.

今年的劇情將會不太一樣,我將不會再透露我的球路,我只能說Ernie今年要面
對的將是與以往截然不同的球路。


     Our proxy statement contains instructions about obtaining tickets to
the game and also a large quantity of other information that should help
you enjoy your visit in Omaha. There will be plenty of action in town. So
come for Woodstock Weekend and join our Celebration of Capitalism at
the Civic.

股東會資料將告訴大家如何取得球賽入場的門票,以及大量有關奧瑪哈的旅遊資
訊,股東會期間將有許多活動,所以一定要來參加資本家的伍斯達克嘉年華會。


February 28, 2001
Warren E. Buffett
Chairman of the Board


華倫.巴菲特

董事會主席

2001年2月28日
創作者介紹

市場求生手冊

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