Buffett: Berkshire got $29B from new tax code

Warren Buffett visits the BNSF booth before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha

"But", he added, "2017 was far from standard: a large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire".

However, Berkshire, whose earnings power is largely concentrated in the insurance business, also lost an estimated $3 billion ($2 billion, after taxes) after the three devastating hurricanes hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico in September.

Berkshire on Saturday reported a record quarterly and annual profit, benefiting from a lower US corporate income tax rate.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett used his widely-read annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Saturday to again call out the wasteful fees that many money managers charge.

Warren Buffett on Saturday said he needs to make "one or more huge acquisitions" to increase Berkshire Hathaway Inc earnings, but admitted that finding a deal at "a sensible purchase price" has become a challenge.

Still, when asked if he would have encouraged legislators to support or fight it, Buffett said he would have gone with a different bill.

Berkshire's cash pile swelled to $116 billion from $109 billion in the third quarter.

He noted that Berkshire didn't go on a buying "frenzy" and acquire a bunch of companies a year ago, mostly because there were no desirable options that came at a "sensible" purchase price. And Buffett is unwilling to load up on debt to finance deals at current prices.

"Each has been with Berkshire for decades, and Berkshire's blood flows through their veins", Buffett wrote.

Both are considered candidates to eventually replace Buffett, 87, as Berkshire's chief executive. Buffett briefly mentioned that move in two paragraphs at the very end of his letter. Still, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company likely only lost less than 1% of its net worth, Buffett noted.

Buffett, 87, has long had a succession plan in place for Berkshire to ensure the future of the conglomerate he built even though he has no plans to retire. That ended previous year, and Buffett - who bet slow, steady gains by the S&P 500 would beat out hedge funds over the decade - won with flying colors. What investors then need instead is an ability to both disregard mob fears or enthusiasms and to focus on a few simple fundamentals.

"Almost 90% of our investments are made in the United States", Buffett writes in the letter to shareholders.

Turning to investments, Berkshire's Apple holding was up to $28.2B at year-end, second only to Wells Fargo at $29.3B.

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