Intero Real Estate Services Creates New Home Sales Division

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Intero Real Estate Services, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire’s HomeServices of America, Inc., has launched a new home sales division labeled Intero Development Group.

This newest offering from Intero fills what the company believes is a sales and marketing void for small, medium and large developers in and around the Bay Area.

The new division will utilize certified education to make sure the various developments have the most professional and qualified team supporting their needs. In addition, there will be varied tiers of the program offering that will fit development projects of any size.

Leading the Intero Development Group is Broker Associate and Intero Los Gatos Assistant Manager Mike D’Ambrosio, a seasoned real estate leader who has years of experience in residential, commercial and development projects throughout the Bay Area. Mr. D’Ambrosio will oversee all aspects of the division including marketing, sales and operations.

“As we continue to grow brokerage services available from Intero, a new home sales division is a natural addition to our residential and commercial offerings,” said Tom Tognoli, Intero President & Chief Executive Officer. “With Mike and his team at the helm of Intero Development Group, we’re confident that this program will be one more success to add to our resume.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BYD Tops Global EV Sales Charts

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China’s BYD Company., the Shenzhen-based new energy technology company was the highest selling manufacturer of new energy vehicles in 2016 for the second consecutive year.

According to figures compiled by EV Sales, a website that tracks the global market for new energy vehicles, BYD’s global sales of 100183 units represented a 70 percent increase from the previous year.

BYD Tang a powerful hybrid electric SUV first unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show in 2014 was the third best -selling model around the world, followed by the BYD Qin and BYD e6 which clinched the ninth and 10th place respectively.

“These results are very encouraging for us as we have invested heavily in researching and developing new energy technology for cars, buses and monorails among others,” said BYD’s Li Yunfei, Deputy General Manager of Branding and PR Division. “We believe new energy is one way we can deal with climate change and that is why we want to use our ‘Cool the Earth by 1 Degree’ campaign to increase public awareness of climate change and the many ways renewable energy can be generated, stored and used.”

Data tallied by EV Sales shows Chinese manufacturers of new energy vehicles are making advancements overseas while continuing to grow in-country.

Separately BYD was also ranked by China’s Highway and Transportation Society as last year’s top provider of electric buses that are longer than 10 meters.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million is now worth roughly $1.77 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lubrizol Signs Agreement with Finolex Industries for CPVC Pipe in India

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Lubrizol Corporation, inventors and the largest manufacturers of CPVC compound worldwide, and Finolex Industries Limited, the leading PVC pipes and fittings manufacturer in India,have announce the signing of, FlowGuard® Processor agreement for the manufacturing and sale of Finolex FlowGuard®Plus pipes and fittings in India.

In August, 2016, Lubrizol terminated its processor agreements with Astral Poly-Technik Limited for the manufacture and sale of FlowGuard®, BlazeMaster® and Corzan® branded pipes and fittings in India.

Under the new agreement, Finolex Industries will begin marketing in the last week of March 2017, and will cater to the building and construction industry.

“Lubrizol is dedicated to supplying the highest quality CPVC compounds to service the Indian hot & cold water plumbing markets,” explains Matthew Timmons, managing director, Lubrizol Advanced Materials India Pvt. Ltd. “Our partnership with Finolex Industries highlights the need and importance of quality CPVC pipes and fittings made from time-tested CPVC compounds provided by Lubrizol. Since January 2016, we have been manufacturing these world quality materials from a state-of-the art plant in Dahej, Gujarat. Our association with Finolex will further strengthen FlowGuard’s commitment to delivering reliability in India through Finolex’s wide spread network in the country.”

Timmons continues, “Since we introduced FlowGuard to the Indian market, we remained committed through our support of processors who continue to benefit from our more than 50 years of expertise in manufacturing and compounding. Additionally, with the government’s recent focus on housing for all, the infrastructure status given to real estate, loans offered at cheaper rates, introduction of the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA), GST & many other initiatives, the need for quality products to be used in the country is greater than ever.”

Lubrizol introduced the resilient CPVC material into India nearly two decades ago. Since then, India’s plumbers, engineers, builders and consultants have been reassured by the only material of its kind to be designed and approved to meet all global standards.

Prakash Chhabria, executive chairman of Finolex Industries Limited expressed his views on the special occasion, saying, “We are committed to strengthening the plumbing industry through our association with Lubrizol falls in line with the culture of Finolex Industries in providing quality products ‘Made in India’ for the Indian market. We are confident about Lubrizol’s global expertise in compounding and appreciate the work done by them in changing the plumbing industry from metal-based to CPVC–based piping. With FlowGuard’s raw material and support, our track record of providing superior products for Indian market gets strengthened. We look forward to a successful partnership.”
industry and we are honored they have chosen to take advantage of our industry-leading cold chain network, expanded fresh foods program and award-winning category management expertise. We are proud to partner with such a strong leader within our industry and look forward to building the foundation for a long lasting and mutually successful relationship.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized

Grandscape to Add Massive 16-Screen Movie Complex

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The old saying is that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that sure applies to Berkshire Hathaway’s Grandscape commercial real estate development.

Grandscape, Berkshire giant mixed-use real estate development in The Colony, Texas, continues to fill out its tenants and will add an 85,000+ sf, 16-screen movie venue. The entertainment center is projected to open in the spring of 2019.

The movie complex will be owned and operated by Galaxy Theatres, LLC, a fully integrated movie theatre company. Galaxy Theatres is privately owned, and is in the top 10% ranked by size of its industry according to the National Theatre Association. It currently has theatres in California, Nevada, Texas and Washington.

Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Grandscape is being developed by Berkshire’s Nebraska Furniture Mart, and is home to its 1.86 million square foot store, which opened in 2015.

When fully developed, Grandscape will cover 400+ acres with 3.9 million square feet of retail, entertainment, dining, hospitality, office and attractions.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Johns Manville Has Leadership Changes in Two Businesses

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Johns Manville, a global building and specialty products manufacturer and a Berkshire Hathaway company, announced leadership changes in two of its businesses. Bob Wamboldt, currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Roofing Systems, will become Senior Vice President and General Manager of Insulation Systems, and Joe Smith will become Senior Vice President and General Manager of Roofing Systems.

Wamboldt will succeed Fred Stephan, who is leaving Johns Manville for another opportunity.

“Johns Manville is a leader and innovator in the many global markets we serve,” said Mary Rhinehart, Chairman, President and CEO. “We are confident Bob and Joe will continue making JM the supplier of choice for our customers, and we are thankful for the service Fred has given JM over the past 12 years.”

Wamboldt joined Johns Manville in 2003 and has held senior leadership positions in the company’s Engineered Products business and in Roofing Systems. He began as Strategic Accounts Manager and later worked as Vice President and General Manager of Engineered Products North America and as Leader for the North American Fibers business in the Engineered Products Group. He has led the Roofing Systems business since 2011. Before joining JM, Wamboldt worked 16 years at PPG with key roles in their Fiber Glass and Coatings divisions. He earned a degree in Chemistry from Lehigh University and is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

Smith will assume Wamboldt’s current role in the Roofing Systems business. He has been General Manager of Building Insulation since 2012 and has played important roles at JM for more than 28 years. He began his tenure as a roofing sales representative, and in 1998 he moved to Denver as a marketing manager in JM’s Roofing Systems Business. For the next 14 years, he worked in a variety of marketing, product management and roofing services positions. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration from St. Leo University.

About Johns Manville

Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001, Johns Manville has annual sales of approximately $2.6 billion, and employs approximately 7,000 people.

The company has 44 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lubrizol LifeSciences Announces New Compounding Capabilities

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The Lubrizol Corporation’s LifeSciences (LLS) business has announced the addition of compounding capabilities for its Pellethane® and Isoplast® products for medical device customers.

The new offering enables LLS to provide color matching, radiopacity and custom compound development services and complements LifeSciences’ existing polymer portfolio, formulation and manufacturing capabilities to enable success for medical device customers.

As part of this new service, LLS provides custom color matching for brand recognition, safe identification and aesthetics in medical device applications. Since pigment requirements are ever changing, LifeSciences pays close attention to ensure that colorants meet applicable regulatory requirements.

Along with color matching, LLS also offers radiopaque materials for X-ray identification and proper device positioning; critical for patient safety and comfort. Pellethane and Isoplast compounds with barium sulfate and tungsten are now both available from LLS.

Pellethane thermoplastic polyurethane is available as aromatic polyethers or polyesters and are known for their flexibility and wide range of hardness. Pellethane TPUs are excellent for a variety of medical applications including tubing, catheters and other short-term uses.

Isoplast engineered thermoplastic polyurethanes are designed for rigid polymer requirements due to their high tensile strength and impact resistance. Isoplast medical polymers may be used to replace polycarbonate where stress cracking is an issue or coloring is difficult. Isoplast is ideal for applications needing an impact resistance-based polymer.

This new capability is made possible through a partnership with trusted custom medical plastics compounder, Compounding Solutions. Compounding Solutions is committed to manufacturing specialty plastics compounds and concentrates of the highest quality in order to satisfy requirements of the medical device industry.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River Benefitting from Record Industry-Wide Sales

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Berkshire Hathaway’s RV manufacturer, Forest River, is riding high as a result of record industry-wide sales.

Since coming out of the Great Recession, the industry has been setting year-after-year sales records.

Sales are now at the highest level since the industry began tracking sales statistics in 1979.

Total 2016 RV shipments reached 430,961 total units, up a whopping 15.1% over 2015.

“The RV lifestyle has become ingrained in so many areas of this country and the incredibly strong U.S. shipment totals reflect that,” said Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Frank Hugelmeyer. “What I’m particularly proud of is the way that our industry continues to stay a step ahead of the economic curve. Our strong numbers are increasingly being viewed as a bellwether of the economy, and the fact that they continued all the way to the end of December is a great signal for the coming year.”

According to the RVIA, Towable were the largest share of the cumulative total, with a record-busting total of 375,950 units shipped in 2016, up 15% from the previous year.

The annual motorhome shipment increase was nearly identical on a percentage basis, with 54,741 units shipped, a 15.7% increase over 2015 totals. Of those motorhomes, type C motorhomes and type B motorhomes were up 26.8% and 24.1% for the year, respectively.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Johns Manville to Benefit From Growth in Global Roofing Insulation Market

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Insulation manufacturer Johns Manville will be among the companies benefitting from a growing world-wide market for roofing insulation according to a new report by analysts at Research and Markets.

In “Global Roof Insulation Market Analysis & Trends – Industry Forecast to 2025,” the analysts predict the market for roofing insulation will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 5.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $13.9 billion by 2025.

Positive factors cited in the report include increasing attention towards energy-efficient building in the construction sector, and improved demand for insulating materials in extreme weather countries.

About Johns Manville

Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001, Johns Manville has annual sales of approximately $2.6 billion, and employs approximately 7,000 people. The company has 44 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Opens London Office

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI), in coordination with its affiliate Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Limited (BHIIL), has established a new office in London and filled key executive roles.

The company named Richard Nathan as Head of Property Lines; Patrick Brown as Head of Executive & Professional Liability; and Andrew Walker as Head of Claims, for BHSI in the UK and Southern Europe.

“We are pleased to expand our specialty insurance operations with a new London office and a growing team of professionals with excellent capabilities and character,” said Tom Bolt, President, UK and Southern Europe, BHSI. “Richard and Patrick will deliver bespoke specialty solutions backed by financial strength, while Andrew will ensure that excellent in-house claims expertise is available for customers from day one.”

The new office will serve brokers and customers in the UK and Southern European countries, including Ireland, Spain, France and Italy.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

BNSF Announces 6 New Certified, Rail-Served Sites for Development

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BNSF Railway has announced six new BNSF Certified Sites that are optimal for customer development along its rail network.

New certified sites include AgriTech Park in Great Falls, Mont.; Ameripointe Logistics Park in Ardmore, Okla.; Central New Mexico Rail Park in Los Lunas, N.M.; Commerce Center of Southeast Iowa in Middletown, Iowa; Gallup Energy Logistics Park in Gallup, N.M. and John W. Kelsey Business and Technology Park in Greenville, Ill.

“One of the ways BNSF works to ensure the right solution is offered to each customer is by scouting potential sites for development in advance of customer inquiries,” said Colby Tanner, assistant vice president, Economic Development. “By doing the upfront leg work to confirm a site is rail-served and shovel-ready, BNSF’s Site Certification Program creates significant value for customers by accelerating the process needed to support customer growth and development.”

The BNSF program allows the certified sites to use the “BNSF Certified Sites” distinction in marketing materials to attract new businesses. BNSF actively markets the sites on its website and promotes the sites to the economic development industry across the country.

A customer who builds a new rail-served facility on a BNSF Certified Site is expected to save between six to nine months of construction time as a result of the site’s advanced level of preparedness for development.

To be considered a certified site, industrial sites agree to submit documentation that allows BNSF to look at tangible evidence of a commitment by the owner and the community to develop a high-quality industrial park or site that is strongly supported by a public-private collaboration and existing investments.

BNSF launched its Site Certification Program in March 2016 by selecting four industrial sites in Shafter, California; Newton, Kansas; Shelby, Montana and Temple, Texas. As a result of these initial site certifications, BNSF has not only received inquiries about these sites from potential customers, but also from other communities that are interested in having an industrial site certified.

Factors known to be critical for a commercial development project include a true picture of property size and boundaries, the confirmed availability of utilities, public services, highway access, proper zoning for industrial usage and transparency of current land ownership. Not only does BNSF complete an analysis of those factors to ensure the sites match the desired economic development readiness level, but BNSF also vets assessments on environmental issues, geotechnical reviews, and endangered species considerations or cultural matters such as land with known archeological value – all to be confident of a good fit with rail expansion.

Additional details on the new group of BNSF Certified Sites are as follows:

• AgriTech Park is planned to eventually contain 1,100 acres. The site being certified at this time is approximately 197 acres and is located in north central Montana about 10 miles off Interstate 15 in Great Falls, Mont. It is about 225 miles north of Billings, Mont. and 110 miles south of the Canadian border.
• Ameripointe Logistics Park has more than 1,200 acres of developable land. The site being certified at this time is specific to 1,026 acres. The hub is located in Ardmore, Okla., which is at the intersection of Interstate Highway 35 and US Highway 70 about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City.
• Central New Mexico Rail Park contains 1,420 acres and is located about six miles west of Interstate Highway 25 in Los Lunas, N.M., approximately 30 miles south of downtown Albuquerque, N.M.
• Commerce Center of Southeast Iowa is an approximately 153 acre site located on the northern edge of the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Middletown, Iowa just south of U.S. Highway 34 about 90 miles southwest of the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area.
• Gallup Energy Logistics Park is expected to eventually comprise as much as 2,500 acres. The site being certified at this time is specific to 365 acres and is located a few miles north of Interstate Highway 40 in Gallup, N.M., which is 140 miles west of Albuquerque, N.M. and 190 miles east of Flagstaff, Ariz.
• John W. Kelsey Business and Technology Park is a nearly 440 acre site in Greenville, Ill. and located about 45 miles northeast of St. Louis just north of Interstate 70.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.