1971年巴菲特致股东的信

本文主要讲保险和银行。

1967年巴菲特收购了国民赔偿保险公司。

1969年进入再保险领域(暂时未知是收购还是新设,根据后文的意思我们猜测可能是国民赔偿保险公司在1969年新设,有待以后查证)

1970-1972年巴菲特陆续在几个州新设立保险公司(根据80年代的年报,这几个自创的保险公司的表现似乎很一般)

1969年巴菲特收购伊利诺伊州国民银行

To the Stockholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.:

致伯克希尔股东:

It is a pleasure to report that operating earnings in 1971, excluding capital gains, amounted to more than 14% of beginning shareholders' equity.

This result—considerably above the average of American industry—was achieved in the face of inadequate earnings in our textile operation, making clear the benefits of redeployment of capital inaugurated five years ago. It will continue to be the objective of management to improve return on total capitalization (long term debt plus equity), as well as the return on equity capital. However, it should be realized that merely maintaining the present relatively high rate of return may well prove more difficult than was improvement from the very low levels of return which prevailed throughout most of the 1960's.

很高兴向各位股东报告:1971年的经营利润(不包括资本利得)占年初股东权益的比重超过了14%。这样的经营结果(比美国行业的平均水平高很多),是在我们纺织业务盈利不好的情况下取得的。我们5年前重新配置资本的好处已经显而易见。管理层的目标是提高投入资本(股东权益+长期负债)的回报率以及股东权益的回报率。然而,我们必须清楚:维持目前高ROE将会比较困难,因为整个60年代的股东权益回报很低,而将较低的股东权益回报提高要相对容易。

Textile Operations

We, in common with most of the textile industry, continued to struggle throughout 1971 with inadequate gross margins. Strong efforts to hammer down costs and a continuous search for less price-sensitive fabrics produced only marginal profits. However, without these efforts we would have operated substantially in the red. Employment was more stable throughout the year as our program to improve control of inventories achieved reasonable success.

我们的纺织业务,和这个行业里的大多数纺织企业一样,在1971年艰难渡过,毛利很低。我们努力削减成本,并且持续不断地搜寻那些对价格敏感度较弱的布料产品,这些努力只贡献了一些边际上的利润。但是,如果没有这些努力的话,我们的纺织业务可能是亏损的。在1971年,由于我们在控制存货方面的努力取得了一些成功,员工雇佣情况比以前稳定。

As mentioned last year, Ken Chace and his management group have been swimming against a strong industry tide. This negative environment has only caused them to intensify their efforts. Currently we are witnessing a mild industry pickup which we intend to maximize with our greatly strengthened sales force. With the improvement now seen in volume and mix of business, we would expect better profitability—although not of a dramatic nature—from our textile operation in 1972.

我们去年也提到过,Ken和他的管理团队就像是在一个很强的产业大潮里游泳。不利的产业环境使得他们工作得更加努力。目前我们看到这个行业有温和转暖的迹象,我们加强了我们的销售团队,尽可能地利用这一机会。我们的纺织业务在销量和产品结构上都有所改善,我们期待1972年将获得更好的利润率(当然,我们不会期待利润率会有戏剧性的提升)。

Insurance Operations

An unusual combination of factors—reduced auto accident frequency, sharply higher effective rates in large volume lines, and the absence of major catastrophes—produced an extraordinarily good year for the property and casualty insurance industry. We shared in these benefits, although they are not without their negative connotations. Our traditional business—and still our largest segment—is in the specialized policy or non- standard insured. When standard markets become tight because of unprofitable industry underwriting, we experience substantial volume increases as producers look to us. This was the condition several years ago, and largely accounts for the surge of direct volume experienced in 1970 and 1971.

保险业务经营情况

1971年,一些不同寻常的因素结合在一起,使得财产和意外伤害保险行业取得了非常好的业绩。这些因素包括:交通事故频率的下降、大额保单的费率比过去要高以及没有出现造成巨大破坏的飓风。我们的保险业务也享受到了这些好处,当然这几个因素也有不好的含义。我们的传统业务(也是我们最大的业务部门)是非标准的保险业务。当标准的保险市场因为行业的承保变得不盈利,因而供应显得很紧张的时候,我们的承保业务量将大幅上升。几年前,市场就是这样的情况,1970年和1971年我们直接承保业务量大幅上升也是这个原因。

Now that underwriting has turned very profitable on an industry-wide basis, more companies are seeking the insureds they were rejecting a short while back and rates are being cut in some areas. We continue to have underwriting profitability as our primary goal and this may well mean a substantial decrease in National Indemnity's direct volume during 1972. Jack Ringwalt and Phil Liesche continue to guide this operation in a manner matched by very few in the business.

从行业层面来看,目前承保业务已经变得非常有利可图;很多保险公司正寻找那些不久前被他们拒绝的投保人,并且一些领域的保费费率也出现了下降。我们继续把承保盈利作为我们的首要目标,这意味着我们的保险公司(国民赔偿保险公司)的直接承保业务量在1972年将出现大幅下降。杰克和菲尔继续以这样的方式领导着国民赔偿保险公司,而行业中很少有人这么做。

Our reinsurance business, which has been developed to a substantial operation in just two years by the outstanding efforts of George Young, faces much the same situation. We entered the reinsurance business late in 1969 at a time when rates had risen substantially and capacity was tight. The reinsurance industry was exceptionally profitable in 1971, and we are now seeing rate-cutting as well as the formation of well-capitalized aggressive new competitors. These lower rates are frequently accompanied by greater exposure.

我们的再保险业务,在过去两年里在乔治-杨的领导下,取得了很多的进展。但是目前也面临和保险业务同样的境况。我们于1969年进入再保险业务领域,那个时候保费的费率很高,而供应却很紧张(再保险公司不愿意签发保单)。再保险行业在1971年盈利情况很好,目前我们看到了费率在下降,也看到了大量新的有资金实力的竞争对手进入了这个行业。更低的费率通常伴随着更大的风险。

Against this background we expect to see our business curtailed somewhat in 1972. We set no volume goals in our insurance business generally—and certainly not in reinsurance—as virtually any volume can be achieved if profitability standards are ignored. When catastrophes occur and underwriting experience sours, we plan to have the resources available to handle the increasing volume which we will then expect to be available at proper prices.

在这样的市场环境下,我们的业务在1972年将面临一定程度的下降。我们没有为我们的保险业务在量上设定目标,再保险业务也是,实际上只有费率足够低(不管承保是否盈利都签发保单),任何承保业务量都是可以达到的。当飓风发生的时候,承保的经历就变得令人讨厌,这个时候我们的生意就来了,我们的承保业务量会上升,费率也会在一个比较合适的价格水平上。

We inaugurated our "home-state" insurance operation in 1970 by the formation of Cornhusker Casualty Company. To date, this has worked well from both a marketing and an underwriting standpoint. We have therefore further developed this approach by the formation of Lakeland Fire & Casualty Company in Minnesota during 1971, and Texas United Insurance in 1972. Each of these companies will devote its entire efforts to a single state seeking to bring the agents and insureds of its area a combination of large company capability and small company accessibility and sensitivity.

1970年我们在我们的家乡(内布拉斯加州)成立了Cornhusker灾难保险公司。今天,不管是从营销的角度还是从承保的角度看,它都运作得很好。我们把这个经验复制到其他的州,比如1971年我们在明尼苏达州成立了“湖地火灾和意外伤害保险公司”;在1972年我们在德州成立了“德州联合保险公司”。这些公司都将各自的州内运营,拥有大公司的承保能力和小公司的灵活性和对客户的便利性。

John Ringwalt has been in overall charge of this operation since inception. Combining hard work with imagination and intelligence, he has transformed an idea into a well organized business. The "home-state" companies are still very small, accounting for a little over $1.5 million in premium volume during 1971. It looks as though this volume will more than double in 1972 and we will develop a more creditable base upon which to evaluate underwriting performance.

从我们的保险公司成立以来,约翰就全面负责这块业务。约翰很聪明,工作也很努力,他拥有丰富的想象力,他把一个“想法”变成了一个管理良好的生意。我们在内布拉斯加州的保险公司还很小,1971年的保费收入刚刚超过150万美金。1972年保费收入可能会翻倍,我们将采用一个更加科学的标准来评价承保的业绩表现。

A highlight of 1971 was the acquisition of Home & Automobile Insurance Company, located in Chicago. This company was built by Victor Raab from a small initial investment into a major auto insurer in Cook County, writing about $7.5 million in premium volume during 1971. Vic is cut from the same cloth as Jack Ringwalt and Gene Abegg, with a talent for operating profitably accompanied by enthusiasm for his business. These three men have built their companies from scratch and, after selling their ownership position for cash, retain every bit of the proprietary interest and pride that they have always had.

1971年值得关注的一件事情是我们收购了位于芝加哥的“家庭汽车保险公司”。这个公司由Victor创立,从一家资本金很小的公司变成了库克县最主要的汽车保险公司,1971年的保费收入大约为750万美元。Victor和Jack、Gene一样,经营很有天分,而且对事业充满热情。这三个人从无到有地打造了自己的公司,他们将自己在公司的股权卖掉套现以后,仍保留有少数股权。他们对自己所创建的事业非常自豪。

While Vic has multiplied the original equity of Home & Auto many times since its founding, his ideas and talents have always been circumscribed by his capital base. We have added capital funds to the company, which will enable it to establish branch operations extending its highly- concentrated and on-the-spot marketing and claims approach to other densely populated areas.

家庭汽车保险公司的股本自成立以来扩大了数倍,但是Victor的想法和他的才能仍然起着关键的作用。我们为这个公司注入了资本,帮助其开始分支机构,好让公司将其高度专注的、现场营销和理赔的方法复制到其他人口稠密的地区。

All in all, it is questionable whether volume added by Home & Auto, plus the "home-state" business in 1972, will offset possible declines in direct and reinsurance business of National Indemnity Company. However, our large volume gains in 1970 and 1971 brought in additional funds for investment at a time of high interest rates, which will be of continuing benefit in future years. Thus, despite the unimpressive prospects regarding premium volume, the outlook for investment income and overall earnings from insurance in 1972 is reasonably good.

我们收购的家庭汽车保险公司和我们新设保险公司,在1972年为我们带来的新增保费收入是否能够抵消国民赔偿保险公司在保险业务和再保险业务上保费收入的下降,仍然是一个未知数。但是在1970年和1971年,保费收入的大幅增长为我们带来了可投资额外的资本,在目前的高利率环境下,这在未来几年对我们都很有好处。1972年,尽管在保费收入上前景不妙,但是我们投资的收入和利润将会表现得不错。

Banking Operations

Our banking subsidiary, The Illinois National Bank & Trust Company, continued to lead its industry as measured by earnings as a percentage of deposits. In 1971, Illinois National earned well over 2% after tax on average deposits while (1) not using borrowed funds except for very occasional reserve balancing transactions; (2) maintaining a liquidity position far above average; (3) recording loan losses far below average; and (4) utilizing a mix of over 50% time deposits with all consumer savings accounts receiving maximum permitted interest rates throughout the year. This reflects a superb management job by Gene Abegg and Bob Kline.

银行业务经营情况

我们的银行子公司,伊利诺伊州国民银行和信托公司,继续在“盈利占存款比率”这个指标上领先于同行。在1971年,该银行取得了2%以上的“税后盈利占平均存款的比率”,这还是在以下情况下取得的:

(1) 未从其它地方借钱,除了少数几次因为储备余额的原因借钱以外;

(2) 大幅维持在平均水平以上的流动性

(3) 贷款损失的水平远低于行业的平均水平

(4) 50%以上的存款为定期存款,且居民储蓄存款账户的利率维持在法定允许利率的最高水平

这些反应了Gene和Bob的超级管理能力。

Interest rates received on loans and investments were down substantially throughout the banking industry during 1971. In the last few years, Illinois National's mix of deposits has moved considerably more than the industry average away from demand money to much more expensive time money. For example, interest paid on deposits has gone from under $1.7 million in 1969 to over $2.7 million in 1971. Nevertheless, the unusual profitability of the Bank has been maintained. Marketing efforts were intensified during the year, with excellent results.

在1971年,银行业贷款的利息和投资的收益率大幅下降。在过去几年里,伊利诺伊州国民银行的存款组合的变动(从低成本的活期存款向高成本的定期存款迁移)高过行业平均水平。比如,国民银行1969年支付的存款利息不到170万美元,到了1971年,支付的利息超过270万美元。即使在这样的环境下,该银行仍然保持了很高的利润率。年内银行加强了营销,取得不错的结果。(存款利率和贷款利率可能都在下降,但是存款的结构发生了改变,使得存款的成本反而出现了上升。rick)

With interest rates even lower now than in 1971, the banking industry is going to have trouble achieving gains in earnings during 1972. Our deposit gains at Illinois National continue to come in the time money area, which produces only very marginal incremental income at present. It will take very close cost control to enable Illinois National to maintain its 1971 level of earnings during 1972.

现在利率水平比1971年更低,银行业想在1972年取得好的盈利会比较困难。在定期存款领域,伯克希尔在伊利诺伊州国民银行的存款利息收入仅有些许边际上的增加。国民银行在1972年如果想要维持1971年的盈利水平的话,必须采取非常严格的成本控制手段。

Financial

Because of the volume gains being experienced by our insurance subsidiaries early in 1971, we re-cast Berkshire Hathaway's bank loan so as to provide those companies with additional capital funds. This financing turned out to be particularly propitious when the opportunity to purchase Home & Auto occurred later in the year. Our insurance and banking subsidiaries possess a fiduciary relationship with the public. We retain a fundamental belief in operating from a very strongly financed position so as to be in a position to unquestionably fulfill our responsibilities. Thus, we will continue to map our financial future for maximum financial strength in our subsidiaries as well as at the parent company level.

财务情况

因为在1971年我们保险子公司的保费收入大幅增长,我们对伯克希尔的银行存款进行了重新分配,来为这些子公司提供额外的资本金。当我们在1971年年末收购家庭汽车保险公司时,这样的融资(指保险浮存金?)证明是非常有利的。我们的保险子公司和银行子公司与公众之间是一种信托的关系。我们有这样一个基本的信念:那就是在运营中保持一个稳健的、很强的财务优势,让我们随时可以毫无疑问地承担我们的责任。因此,我们将继续在母公司层面以及子公司层面最大化我们在财务上的优势。

Warren E. Buffett

Chairman of the Board

March 13, 1972

cnbrain

做时间的朋友,做一个长期主义者。

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1971年巴菲特致股东的信