Buffett reports 62 per cent drop in 2008 income

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has reported a 62 per cent drop in its 2008 net income because investment and derivative losses of nearly $7.5 billion weighed on the results.

Billionaire Buffett details his worst year leading Berkshire in a shareholder letter issued Saturday.

Berkshire reported $4.99 billion net income, or $3,224 per share, in 2008. That’s down from $13.21 billion, or $8,548, in 2007.

Buffett says the Omaha-based company’s book value assets minus liabilities declined 9.6 per cent to $70,530 per share in 2008.

Berkshire’s book value declined only one other time under Buffett, and that was a 6.2 per cent decline in 2001.

Two analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected Berkshire to report a 2008 profit of $5,534.50 per share.