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Stock Analyst Update

Berkshire Shows Stronger Positioning; We Raise FVE

Here is where our valuations stand with Berkshire's various segments.


We've increased our fair value estimate for wide-moat Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) to $440,000 ($293) per Class A (B) share from $380,000 ($253) after updating our valuation model to reflect changes in the firm's investment portfolio, as well as results from its operating subsidiaries, since our last update. We continue to use a sum-of-the-parts methodology to arrive at our fair value estimate. With Berkshire's book value per share expected to increase at a high-single-digit rate this year and next, our new fair value estimate is equivalent to 1.40 and 1.31 times our estimates for Berkshire's book value per share at the end of 2021 and 2022, respectively, compared with 1.43 (1.41) times trailing calendar year-end book value per share the past five (10) years.

Looking more closely at Berkshire's operating segments, our valuation for the insurance operations increased to $188,100 per Class A share (up from $156,900 previously) due to improved performance of the equity portfolio and better expectations for earned premium growth (of 8.3% annually during 2021-25) and underwriting profitability (expected to average 99.6% annually). As for BNSF, our fair value estimate for the railroad business is $77,400 per Class A share (up from $72,100 previously) based on unit volumes increasing 2.6%, and freight revenues expanding 5.0%, annually on average during 2021-25, with the company's operating ratio falling below 62% by the end of 2025. Our fair value estimate for Berkshire's utilities and energy division also increased to $38,600 per Class A share (up from $36,000 previously) on continued constructive rate-case outcomes for each of the division's U.S. regulated utilities and the addition of Dominion GT&S to its pipeline operations. As for Berkshire's manufacturing, service, and retail division, we estimate it is worth $135,900 per Class A share (up from $115,000 previously), with revenue growing 3.8% on average, and pretax operating margins averaging 8.6%, annually during 2021-25.

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Greggory Warren does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.