Who Knew Berkshire Hathaway Is America's 3rd Largest Company?

Today is the date of America’s most anticipated corporate annual meeting, that of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-B). Famed investor Warren Buffett will host the event, which will draw tens of thousands of people to his home town of Omaha. One thing often overlooked about the company is that it is the third largest company in America based on revenue.

That Berkshire Hathaway is so large is a testament to Buffett’s skill as a manager, which sits alongside his reputation as perhaps the greatest investor in American history. Berkshire Hathaway is also among the American companies with the best corporate reputations.

Berkshire Hathaway’s revenue last year was $242 billion, which puts it just behind second place Exxon Mobil and its revenue of $244 billion. The first place company, Walmart, is well ahead of both, with annual revenue of $500 billion. Apple ranks in fourth place and had revenue of $229 billion last year.

Based on another measure frequently used to compare public companies, Berkshire Hathaway is well down the list. On a market capitalized basis, it ranks 10th at $300 billion. That is well behind leader Apple at $998 billion and Microsoft, in second place at $988 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway’s revenue is made up of five components. The largest among these is its sales and services revenue. Premiums from its insurance holdings rank second at $57 billion. It huge railroad and energy holdings rank third at $43 billion. Next, interest and dividends from its vast ownership positions in other companies bring in $7.7 billion. Finally, its leasing revenue is nearly $6 billion.

Among Berkshire Hathaway’s largest insurance holdings are GEICO, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group. It also owns the huge Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway company, which employees 45,000 people. Berkshire Hathaway Energy owns PacifiCorp, MidAmerican Energy and NV Energy. Berkshire Hathaway is also in the real estate business. It owns residential real estate company HomeServices of America. Among its industrial holdings are Precision Castparts, Lubrizol and IMC International Metalworking Companies. It also owns home builder Clayton Homes and carpet maker Shaw Industries. These are just among the largest holdings out of dozens.

Buffett also has a portfolio of ownership in some of America’s best-known companies. These include positions in Coca Cola and Apple. They are among Warren Buffett’s top stocks for 2019, and Berkshire Hathaway recently took a position in Amazon.