OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Billionaire Warren Buffett's investment company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., on Friday said profit rose 28 percent in the third quarter and reported gains from insurance operations, investments and expansion.

Profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 came to $366.6 million, or $297 a share, compared with $264.0 million, or $218 a share, in the same 1996 period, when there were fewer shares outstanding.

Berkshire attributed its gains in part to improvements at its auto insurer, Geico, and investment gains that were up 89 percent from a year ago. It also noted that this year's results included the operations of FlightSafety International, a pilot-training business and manufacturer of flight simulators, which Berkshire bought late last year.

For the first nine months of the year, profit slumped in comparison with a year earlier, when Berkshire had a $1.5 billion gain on its investment in Capital Cities/ABC when the media company was purchased by Walt Disney Co.

Profit for the nine months ended Sept. 30 fell to $928.8 million, or $753 a share, from $2.12 billion, or $1,766 a share, a year earlier.

Berkshire invests in a variety of companies, including Coca-Cola Co., McDonald's Corp., The Washington Post, Gillette Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

It's Class A shares, the highest priced on the New York Stock Exchange, rose $500 to close at $44,400 each Friday.

The `Baby Berkshire' Class B shares, the second most expensive on the NYSE, were up $21 at $1,485 each.