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巴菲特2010年致股东信全文(3)

(2010-03-07 13:35:12)
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巴菲特

股东信

财经

(续)

Let’s move to the specifics of Berkshire’s operations. We have four major operating sectors, each differing from the others in balance sheet and income account characteristics. Therefore, lumping them together, as is standard in financial statements, impedes analysis. So we’ll present them as four separate businesses, which is how Charlie and I view them.

让我们转到伯克希尔业务的一些具体问题。我们有四大业务部分,每一部门的资产负债表和营收帐目都各具特色。因而,如果按照财务报告标准做法把它们混杂在一起会妨碍分析。因此,我们会把它们分为四个单独业务进行展示,这也是查理和我看待它们的方式。

   

    Insurance

  保险业

  Our property-casualty (P/C) insurance business has been the engine behind Berkshire’s growth and will continue to be. It has worked wonders for us. We carry our P/C companies on our books at $15.5 billion more than their net tangible assets, an amount lodged in our “Goodwill” account. These companies, however, are worth far more than their carrying value – and the following look at the economic model of the P/C industry will tell you why.

    我们的财产险业务一直是公司发展壮大的发动机,它为我们取得了惊人的成绩,并在未来的时间里继续充当这一角色。当前财产险公司帐面资产超过其有形资产净额155亿美元。当然,通过我下面对财产险领域经济模式特点的解释可以了解到,这些公司的价值要远远超过其帐面价值。

  Insurers receive premiums upfront and pay claims later. In extreme cases, such as those arising from certain workers’ compensation accidents, payments can stretch over decades. This collect-now, pay-later model leaves us holding large sums – money we call “float” – that will eventually go to others. Meanwhile, we get to invest this float for Berkshire’s benefit. Though individual policies and claims come and go, the amount of float we hold remains remarkably stable in relation to premium volume. Consequently, as our business grows, so does our float.

    保险公司运营模式的突出特点即预先收取保险费用而滞后支付客户索赔。在一些极端情况下,如一些企业工人的事故赔偿,滞后期甚至能够达到几十年之久。这种当前筹集资金而滞后支付的模式使得我们能够得以持有大量资金,我们称之为“浮存金”。尽管这部分资本最终将会流向客户,但同时,我们能够利用这部分资本进行投资并为伯克希尔-哈撒韦带来利润。尽管不断有保单及索赔被建立,但我们所持有的浮存金受保险交易量的保障仍能基本保持稳定。因此,随着业务增长,我们的浮存金也会越来越多。

    If premiums exceed the total of expenses and eventual losses, we register an underwriting profit that adds to the investment income produced from the float. This combination allows us to enjoy the use of free money – and, better yet, get paid for holding it. Alas, the hope of this happy result attracts intense competition, so vigorous in most years as to cause the P/C industry as a whole to operate at a significant underwriting loss. This loss, in effect, is what the industry pays to hold its float. Usually this cost is fairly low, but in some catastrophe-ridden years the cost from underwriting losses more than eats up the income derived from use of float.

  如果公司收取的保险费用超过了最终赔偿及运营费用支出总额,那么我们除浮存金的投资收入外还获得了承保盈利收入。这种组合为我们提供了免费使用投资资本的机会,更有利的是,我们甚至还因为持有这部分资金而获得了费用。当然,这一理想结果也产生了强烈的竞争,这种竞争使得近几年大部分时间里财产险行业整体在以亏损局面运营。事实上,这种亏损是整个行业为其所持有的浮存金支付的费用。并且,通常这一成本并不高。当然,不可避免在某些灾难年中,保险业损失的成本会超过其浮存金带来的收入。

    In my perhaps biased view, Berkshire has the best large insurance operation in the world. And I will absolutely state that we have the best managers. Our float has grown from $16 million in 1967, when we entered the business, to $62 billion at the end of 2009. Moreover, we have now operated at an underwriting profit for seven consecutive years. I believe it likely that we will continue to underwrite profitably in most – though certainly not all – future years. If we do so, our float will be cost-free, much as if someone deposited $62 billion with us that we could invest for our own benefit without the payment of interest.

  以我或许存有偏见的观点来看,伯克希尔-哈撒韦拥有全球最好的大型保险运营机构,并且无疑我们也拥有世界上最好的经理人。自1967年进入保险领域至2009年底,我们的浮存金从当时的1600万美元上升至620亿美元。更重要的是,我们已连续7年实现了承保盈利运营。我很有信心,在未来的大部分时间里,我们也将能保持承保盈利的骄人局面。如果现实发展正如我的预计,那么我们的浮存金所带来的流动资本将是免费的。即尽管持有多达620亿美元的存款,我们仍可以在不必支付利息的情况下,使用这部分资金进行投资为我们带来利润。

    Let me emphasize again that cost-free float is not a result to be expected for the P/C industry as a whole: In most years, premiums have been inadequate to cover claims plus expenses. Consequently, the industry’s overall return on tangible equity has for many decades fallen far short of that achieved by the S&P 500. Outstanding economics exist at Berkshire only because we have some outstanding managers running some unusual businesses. Our insurance CEOs deserve your thanks, having added many billions of dollars to Berkshire’s value. It’s a pleasure for me to tell you about these all-stars.

  我再次强调,免费使用浮存金并不是整个财产险行业的普遍现象,在大部分时间里,保险费并不足以支付客户要求的索赔及公司运营费用。伯克希尔-哈撒韦取得的成绩仅仅是因为我们拥有众多出色的经理人完成了那些非比寻常的业务。我们保险公司的那些首席执行官们值得我们所有人去感谢,是他们使得伯克希尔-哈撒韦的价值增加了数十亿美元。

  * * * * * * * *

  (未完待续)

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