BYD Sells 21 Pure Electric Big Rigs to Anheuser-Busch

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Big things are brewing for BYD at one of the world’s biggest brewers.

Chinese battery and vehicle maker BYD has delivered 21 zero-emission BYD Class 8 electric trucks Anheuser-Busch.

BYD notes that this is the largest deployment of its kind in North America.

According to BYD, the environmental benefits for the 21 trucks in the aggregate
will prevent: ~462 metric tons of GHG per year, and ~732.9 lbs of NOx per year, as compared to diesel trucks.

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 has grown in value almost ten-fold, and is now worth roughly $1.96 billion.

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

© 2019 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.

MedPro Group Acquires Renewal Rights for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Healthcare Professional Liability Business

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Berkshire Hathaway’s MedPro Group has entered into a definitive agreement with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions to acquire the renewal rights to SRCS’s Healthcare Professional Liability book of business effective October 11, 2019.

The agreement includes Hospital and Senior Care accounts underwritten by SRCS from the US, as well as US Hospital and International Healthcare Professional Liability accounts underwritten by SRCS from London and other offices around the world.

“This transaction is further evidence of our unwavering dedication to the challenging healthcare liability market in the US and, increasingly, around the world,” said Jean-Paul Rebillard, President, MedPro Specialty. “We are excited by this opportunity because Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ healthcare professional liability clients and approach to underwriting and service complement our industry-leading Specialty business that provides solutions to healthcare organizations of all types.”

Current SRCS policyholders will be eligible to receive renewal offers from MedPro and its affiliates upon the expiration of their policies. To help ensure seamless service, several key members of the SRCS healthcare team are joining MedPro.

MedPro CEO Tim Kenesey added that “more healthcare providers choose MedPro over any other insurer because of our century-long commitment to delivering unsurpassed peace of mind, expertise and choice to healthcare providers and organizations. And, as Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman Warren Buffett has said, ‘MedPro is also now a favored solution for owners of healthcare liability insurers who seek the world’s most stable home for their policyholders in an increasingly unstable healthcare liability landscape.’”

With over $1.6 billion in premium, MedPro Group is the leader in customized insurance, claims and patient safety & risk solutions for more than 250,000 physicians, surgeons, dentists and other healthcare professionals, as well as hospitals, senior care and other healthcare facilities.

© 2019 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.

Agricultural Minister Estimates Crop Damage from Lubrizol Fire

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The estimated 5,250 tons of chemicals, oil and fuel additives that went up in flames in a massive fire at a Berkshire Hathaway-owned Lubrizol plant in Rouen, Normandy, France, has caused roughly 40 to 50 million euros ($44-55 million) in agricultural losses in the surrounding area, according to France’s Agricultural Minister.

The government has ordered a ban on the harvesting of crops and sale of animal products from the area due to the oily soot that blanketed the countryside.

During the multi-day blaze, nearby residents sheltered in place and local schools were closed, as more than 130 firefighters battled the fire, which left the facility in ashes.

Some fears of toxic chemical contamination eased a bit when France’s Minister of Health has announced that “first samples remain below the recommended thresholds of the normal environment.”

The Rouen plant was founded in 1954, and manufactured and packaged additives for lubricants and paint.

No casualties have been reported and the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

© 2019 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.

Grandscape to Get First Sony Digital Theater in Texas

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Sony Electronics Inc. has announced the expansion of its Sony Digital Cinema™ premium large-format (PLF) movie theater auditorium to its first location in Texas, at Galaxy Theatres in The Colony.

Sony Digital Cinema is a heightened experience for PLF theaters that features Sony’s industry-leading, dual-laser projection system, along with powerful sound and luxury reclining seats.

The contemporary cinema is planned to open in spring 2020 at Galaxy Theatres’ newest venue at Grandscape – a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use real estate development featuring shopping, dining and attractions.

Grandscape is developed by Nebraska Furniture Mart Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, and affiliates. The 85,000+ square-foot luxury dine-in theater, located in the Dallas/Fort Worth vicinity, will feature 15 screens and serve as the anchor of Grandscape’s entertainment district.

Building on the success of Sony’s first PLF auditorium at Galaxy Theatres’ Las Vegas location, Galaxy Grandscape will be the ultimate movie-going experience in Texas. To further enhance presentation quality and audience enjoyment, each of the theater’s 15 screens will incorporate Sony’s latest 4K laser digital cinema projectors, which combine clarity with brightness, color and contrast for the ultimate in picture quality. The immersive Sony Digital Cinema PLF space, which will also offer more than 250 stadium-style reclining seats and dynamic sound, will serve as the heart of the new theater and engage attendees by bringing movies to life in the manner they were meant to be seen.

“On the heels of our mutual success launching the world’s first Sony Digital Cinema PLF together, we are pleased to work with Galaxy Theatres to bring this exceptional and unforgettable experience to movie lovers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area,” said Theresa Alesso, pro division president, Sony Electronics. “The Sony Digital Cinema auditorium combines Sony’s stunning visual technologies with innovative theater design and powerful audio to create a unique and truly immersive sensory experience.”

“Galaxy Theatres’ Grandscape location is being thoughtfully designed and outfitted with the movie-goer in mind, from the décor and the food, to the state-of-the-art technology,” explained Rafe Cohen, president of Galaxy Theatres. “After collaborating on a Sony Digital Cinema auditorium in Las Vegas, we experienced the immense appetite for luxury entertainment experiences first-hand. Having our premier new theater as the lynchpin of Grandscape’s innovative lifestyle complex will enhance our exposure among an audience who already values a premium offering.”

© 2019 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.

Berkadia Completes Two Seattle-Area Multi-Family Sales

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Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Jefferies Financial Group, has completed the sales of Huntington Park and The Orion, two multifamily properties in the Puget Sound.

Berkadia’s Kenny Dudunakis, David Sorensen and Ben Johnson of the Seattle office oversaw the sales.

Washington-based Curtis Capital Group purchased The Orion, which is located at 29 Saint Helens Ave. in Tacoma for $30.24 million. The seller was California-based Investors Management Group. The 168-unit midrise property features one and two-bedroom floor plans with wood-style flooring. Community amenities include a rooftop terrace and a 24-hour fitness center.

In the other sale, New York-based New York Life Insurance Company acquired Huntington Park, which is located at 9009 W. Mall Dr. in Everett from an undisclosed seller. The 381-unit garden-style property features one, two and three-bedroom floor plans with private balconies and in-unit washers and dryers.

About Berkadia

Founded in 2009 as a 50/50 joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation (now known as Jefferies Financial Group), Berkadia is a third-party commercial mortgage servicer, as well as an approved lender for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD/FHA.

The company is among the top Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily lenders.

Berkadia owes its origins to GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation, which was acquired in 2009 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Five Mile Capital Partners LLC, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Christened Capmark Financial, the company had $10 billion of originations in 2008 and a servicing portfolio of more than $360 billion before running into bankruptcy in October 2009.

In a deal approved by the bankruptcy court, Capmark sold its mortgage loan and servicing to the newly formed Berkadia in a deal worth $515 million.

The deal brought Berkshire into the heart of the commercial loan serving business, and the company has one of the largest commercial real estate servicing portfolios.

© 2019 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.

France’s Minister of Health Comments on Lubrizol Fire in Rouen

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Lawsuits are already lining up after a reported 5,250 tons of chemicals, oil and fuel additives went up in flames in a massive fire at a Berkshire Hathaway-owned Lubrizol plant in Rouen, Normandy, France.

Nearby residents sheltered in place and local schools were closed, as more than 130 firefighters battled the fire, which left the facility in ashes. There was also concern that the nearby Seine river would be polluted.

Fears of toxic chemical contamination are ongoing, but France’s Minister of Health has announced that “first samples remain below the recommended thresholds of the normal
environment.”

The Rouen plant was founded in 1954, and manufactured and packaged additives for lubricants and paint.

No casualties have been reported and the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

© 2019 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.

Spain’s LARVIA Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Brokerage Franchise Network

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LARVIA, one of Spain’s leading estate agencies with ties to Spain’s construction and development dating back 55 years, today begins operations as a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate brokerage franchise network.

The company, with offices in Madrid and Barcelona, goes forward as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices LARVIA.

“We are excited to begin the next chapter at our company as a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network,” said CEO Bruno Rabassa. “Our brand carries the name of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the world’s most respected companies. We’re proud to represent Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Spain, and continue growing the company on our foundation of top-quality service and market expertise.”

LARVIA is part of the family-owned Petrus Grupo Inmobiliario, which develops, restores, leases and manages property in the region. LARVIA specializes in luxury real estate, among other sectors.

“Spain has been a top priority for our network’s global expansion, and we couldn’t be happier to enter the market with a company such as LARVIA,” said Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Bruno Rabassa is a terrific operator respected throughout the Spanish real estate and business communities, and LARVIA is known throughout the region for its top-rate service and skilled agents. The company is poised to grow, and we will support LARVIA at every step.”

LARVIA joins a brokerage network that has grown to more than 50,000 agents and 1,500 offices throughout the U.S., Western Europe and Dubai in just six years of existence. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices produced USD114.5 billion in real estate sales volume in 2018.

LARVIA will benefit from client referrals and relocation business generated through the network, Blefari said. Its agents also gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ “FOREVER Cloud” technology suite powered by Salesforce, including lead generation, marketing support, social media content, video production/distribution support and more.

In addition, the brand provides global listing syndication, professional training and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings.

Rabassa said he wants to double the size of his business in Madrid and Barcelona during the next year, and then expand to other key regions of the country.

“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices LARVIA is the most compelling choice for luxury and all other real estate services,” Rabassa said. “Estate agents who want to grow their business with a highly respected brand and well-established Spanish agency should consider Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices LARVIA.”

© 2019 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 HomeServices Expands Into Portugal

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, one of the world’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage franchise networks, is expanding into Portugal through an agreement with Portugal Property.

The agency will operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal Property.

Portugal Property, founded in 2008 by CEO Michael Vincent, is Portugal’s largest independent real estate brokerage as measured by real estate sales volume and office count. The brokerage sets local standards for client service and expertise, and for the last eight years has won prestigious European Property Awards for Best Real Estate Agency in Portugal and Best Real Estate Agency Website in Portugal.

“Portugal was an essential target of ours from the outset of our global expansion,” said Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “The Portuguese economy has responded nicely from the global downturn and its real estate market is vibrant and growing. We’re elated to enter Portugal with the country’s finest brokerage, Portugal Property, which has ambitious growth plans to serve significantly more local and global clients.”

Portugal Property operates seven offices in Lisbon, Porto and along the Algarve, Portugal’s southern coast. The brokerage and its 43 agents generated nearly USD100 million in real estate sales volume in 2018. The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network produced USD114.5 billion in sales volume last year.

“We are proud to bring the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand to Portugal,” said Vincent. “The brand carries the name of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the world’s most respected, trusted and admired companies. As important, the brand is composed of strong brokerages across America, Europe and Dubai, and we anticipate exchanging client referral with these companies.”

Vincent said the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand will be a beacon for burgeoning global clientele and Portuguese consumers seeking top-rate expertise and guidance. “We have firmly established Portugal Property and now we add an exciting and respected global brand name with abundant resources. We are so excited for the future, which starts today.”

Portugal Property gains access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ “FOREVER Cloud” technology suite, a powerful source for lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has aligned with Salesforce to deliver world-class technology support to its network members far into the future. The brand also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional training and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings. Its Prestige Magazine showcases network members’ premium listings with a compelling lineup of feature stories covering topics that appeal to high-end real estate consumers.

Vincent plans to double the size of his brokerage over the next five years. “We believe the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand will help us gain access to new, upscale markets and more of the world’s affluent real estate investors who are increasingly attracted to our wonderful country,” he said. “All of these factors have come together at once for our brokerage and we’re eager to take our business to new levels.”

Chris Stuart, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded Portugal Property’s brand membership. “Michael Vincent brings to our network two decades of experience in Portuguese real estate and a strong team of agents and employees,” he said. “We are proud to welcome the group and look forward to helping the brokerage grow into one of Europe’s finest agencies.”

© 2019 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.

Berkadia Adds Tax Credit Syndication and Advisory Platform

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Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Jefferies Financial Group, has expanded its affordable housing capabilities with the addition of a tax credit syndication and advisory platform.

This team of specialized experts comes from Riverside Capital, in which Berkadia invested in 2018. The integration will offer clients access to the already robust Berkadia Affordable Housing team and add tax credit syndication services, advancing the goal of offering developer clients access to seamlessly integrated solutions for all of their affordable housing capital needs.

“This expansion not only gives Berkadia the opportunity to cement our position as a leader in the affordable housing space, but it allows us to dig even deeper and better serve a specialized niche of developers and investors who are working diligently to meet the need of additional affordable housing units across the country,” said Berkadia CEO Justin Wheeler. “Riverside has a solid record of success in providing capital solutions to the affordable housing industry’s leading development companies, so this additional capability will benefit Berkadia and Riverside customers alike, particularly as we pursue an aggressive growth strategy in the affordable housing market.”

Since the collaboration with Riverside began in 2018, Berkadia has expanded its capabilities in the affordable space with the strategic hiring of mortgage bankers and investment sales advisors across the country, in addition to tax credit equity placement through Riverside as well as conventional joint venture equity solutions.

“According to NLIHC’s April report, there are 11 million extremely low-income renter households and only 4 million affordable and available units, leaving a shortage of 7 million units,” stated Sebastian Corradino, former Riverside President and CEO and current Senior Managing Director on the Berkadia Affordable Housing team. “As Berkadia, we will continue to partner with investors and developers to reduce the affordable housing gap, fulfilling the business objective to do well with the social imperative to do good. Our entire team is incredibly excited to now be part of the Berkadia Affordable Housing platform.”

“The former Riverside acquisitions, investor relations and asset management teams will continue to provide the exceptional, personalized level of service our clients expect while also giving them access to new opportunities the Berkadia network offers,” said Corradino.

In 2018, Berkadia’s loan origination volume surpassed $26 billion while its investment sales platform totaled over $8 billion.

About Berkadia

Founded in 2009 as a 50/50 joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation (now known as Jefferies Financial Group), Berkadia is a third-party commercial mortgage servicer, as well as an approved lender for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD/FHA.

The company is among the top Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily lenders.

Berkadia owes its origins to GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation, which was acquired in 2009 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Five Mile Capital Partners LLC, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Christened Capmark Financial, the company had $10 billion of originations in 2008 and a servicing portfolio of more than $360 billion before running into bankruptcy in October 2009.

In a deal approved by the bankruptcy court, Capmark sold its mortgage loan and servicing to the newly formed Berkadia in a deal worth $515 million.

The deal brought Berkshire into the heart of the commercial loan serving business, and the company has one of the largest commercial real estate servicing portfolios.

© 2019 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.

Pampered Chef Adds New Food Product Line Called Enrichables

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For the first time in its nearly 40-year history, Berkshire Hathaway’s kitchenware brand Pampered Chef is entering a new product category with the launch of a product line called Enrichables.

Pampered Chef will make it easier than ever for consumers to add nutrients to everyday meals, from pasta to batters to soups and so much more.

The new Enrichables line is launching with two nutrient-dense products — Kale & Fiber and Pea Protein — add one Enrichables packet to your favorite recipe to make your dishes more nutritious.

• Enrichables Kale & Fiber – Each packet includes 2 cups of freeze-dried kale. Kale contains minerals, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K. Each packet also provides 8 grams of fiber from chicory root. Consuming adequate amounts of fiber daily can help promote fullness and digestive heath. Enrichables Kale & Fiber is the perfect meal enhancement for foods low in vegetables and fiber, such as ground meat, egg dishes and sauces.

• Enrichables Pea Protein – Each packet contains 100% high-quality plant protein made from yellow peas, which provides a clean, low-calorie form of protein. One packet includes 10 grams of protein. Consuming adequate amounts of protein daily can promote fullness, energy, and help maintain muscle function and mobility. This meal booster is ideal for low-protein foods such as baked goods, sauces and carb-based dishes.

“Vegetables are essential to our diets, but most people don’t even come close to getting the recommended amount due to the time and effort required,” said Sandy Wolner, RDN, Food and Trend Innovator for Pampered Chef. “The ingredients in Enrichables Kale & Fiber help add more vegetables to family-favorite meals, which can promote digestive health and add nutrients. The ingredients in Enrichables Pea Protein help you get more protein into your diet throughout your day.”

From incorporating veggies to a picky eater’s mac and cheese or protein to a breakfast smoothie, one Enrichables packet makes it easy to add Kale & Fiber or Pea Protein to any family’s favorite dishes. Enrichables are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and contain no added fillers or flavors, making them nearly undetectable, no matter the dish.

“We want to make it easier for consumers to reach their nutritional health goals, and that’s where Enrichables comes in,” said Kristin Hayward, Director of Brand Strategy for Pampered Chef. “Enrichables isn’t just a traditional boost for smoothies, it can be incorporated into almost any regular meal to make nutrition more approachable for the everyday cook.”

© 2019 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.