Berkshire Hathaway Inc's much anticipated annual meeting on Saturday will be held virtually for a second year, but regain one bit of normalcy as Warren Buffett rejoins the billionaire Charlie Munger to answer shareholder questions.
The meeting gives Buffett, 90, and Munger, 97, a stage to explain over 3 - 1 hour what to expect from Berkshire's many businesses, markets and economy, and whether the company will continue aggressive share repurchases.
Still, with no shareholders present, it will be shorn of the festivities that normally attract around 40,000 to Omaha, Nebraska annually for what Buffett calls Woodstock for Capitalists.
The Berkshire event, it's difficult to describe someone who has never been there, said Jim Weber, president of the fast-growing Brooks Running unit of the company.Nevertheless, I'll keep the meeting going and I won't be working on it, probably on my treadmill.
Since 1965, Munger has run Berkshire and Buffett has been vice chairman since 1978.
The other vice-chairmen, Greg Abel and Ajit Jain, who oversee Berkshire's insurance and non-insurance businesses respectively, will be on hand to answer some questions.They are the top contenders to replace Buffett as Berkshire chief executive.
Sunday's meeting should illustrate how Buffett and Munger have thrived together for so long despite differences in politics - Buffett is a Democrat, Munger is a Republican - and often investment ideas.
Munger, a Nebraskan, did not travel to the meeting of last year in California, which was disrupted by the pandemic.
Buffett said in his shareholder letter at https://www.berkshirehathaway.com letters 2020 ltr.pdf that in this year he will travel to Los Angeles to reunite with his friend and business partner of over six decades.
Warren's perspective may often challenge Charlie, said Paul Lountzis, President of Lountzis Asset Management LLC in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania and a Berkshire shareholder.But he often augments what Warren says in a more direct way and with a big sense of humor.
Like Buffett, Munger tries to teach as he thinks long-term and eschews investments whose main attribute is being in vogue.
He says it is reassuring Tom Russo QuinnRusso Quinn, who invests in Gardner, Russo Quinn in Berkshire and has invested in Lancaster, Pennsylvania since 1982.For people who follow that reassurance, the rewards have been mighty.
The meeting will be broadcast on Yahoo Finance which said that the meeting of last year generated 2.5 million streams.
It comes with Berkshire shares on a roll, and outpacing the Standard Poor's 500 by seven percentage points for 2021 through Wednesday.
That's an improvement between 2019 and 2020, when value stocks trailed and Berkshire, which pays no dividend, trailed the index by 36 percentage points.
Berkshire's first meeting will begin a few hours after Berkshire releases the website's results for the April 7th meeting.Analysts expect operating profit, which excludes stockholdings such as Apple Inc and Bank of America Corp from shareholders, to be similar to last year.
Berkshire will also say how much of its own stock it repurchased last year after $24.7 billion of buybacks.
Buybacks will be on everyone's mind said Russo.
Henry H Armstrong Associates, owner of the McKellar company in Pittsburgh, hopes Buffett and Munger will discuss how Berkshire can be managed over the long term to address its largest investment problem, its large size.
Shareholders likely reject two proposals requiring more disclosures on climate change and diversity.Buffett and Berkshire, who has nearly one-third of its voting power, oppose both.
While Berkshire's Omaha office went into defunct during the pandemic, many of its businesses were negatively affected, and Buffett and Munger could likely address their plans for better times ahead.
Precision Castparts is trying to rebound from a drop in travel that erased demand for its aircraft parts, causing a $9.8 billion writedown and 13,400 job losses.
And while the Geico Car insurer, managed by Buffett's investment manager, saw accident losses decline, it saw criticism for only offering drivers with credits for policy renewals when other insurers reduced premiums.
Other possible issues are Berkshire's failed venture with Amazon.com Inc and JPMorgan Chase Co in order to reduce health care costs, and its $8 billion proposal to build 10 Texas power plants to avoid much more devastating blackouts in that state.
Wouldn't be a surprise to hear Disdain for Bitcoin, which Munger have called Rat poison squared and Buffett has called the pursuit of the unspeakable by the unpredictable.
Munger, meanwhile, has said that the craze for public acquisition companies that take private companies private sounded an irritating bubble.