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BERKSHIRE EXPECTS PRETAX LOSS

Berkshire Hathaway estimated a $2.2 billion pretax loss in its insurance operations related to last week's terrorist attacks.

The charges will be incorporated into the company's third quarter ending Sept. 30, Berkshire said Thursday in a news release.

In last year's third quarter, multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett's holding company had earnings of $797 million, or $523 a share, including gains in its insurance holdings.

Berkshire said it would bear between 3 percent and 5 percent of the insurance industry's losses from the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

Industry experts and ratings agencies have estimated the cost of the attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon in excess of $30 billion, making it the industry's costliest disaster ever.

Berkshire owns General Re, a major reinsurance company. Reinsurers back up insurance companies in major losses. Berkshire also owns The Buffalo News.

Berkshire expects an immediate tax benefit and a refund of payments made earlier in the year, according to the statement said. The company paid about $2.7 billion in federal income taxes for the two years ending Dec. 31, 2000.

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