Berkadia’s Frank Lutz Elected Chairman of MBA’s Fannie Mae DUS Lender Peer Group

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkadia has announced that Frank Lutz, Senior Vice President, Conventional Origination, has been elected by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to serve as chairman of its Fannie Mae DUS (Delegated Underwriting and Servicing) Lender Peer Group.

The DUS program is a unique risk-sharing model whereby lenders retain some of the underlying risk of the loans they sell to Fannie Mae, financing multifamily properties throughout the country. Last year, the DUS program provided over $42 billion of financing to the multifamily market, representing approximately 569,000 units.

The DUS program is comprised of 25 multifamily seller servicers approved as delegated partners by Fannie Mae.

“We are pleased that Frank was selected for this honor,” said Justin Wheeler, CEO of Berkadia. “His many contributions to the MBA support Berkadia’s longstanding history with the organization and reinforce our position as a leading DUS lender. We congratulate Frank on this recognition and support him in his efforts.”

Lutz joined Berkadia in 2011, and he is responsible for managing Berkadia’s relationships with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as aspects of production including loan structuring, volume, profitability and credit quality. Under his leadership, Berkadia has become a top lender with both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, ranking second with Freddie Mac in 2015 for the fourth consecutive year and third with Fannie Mae in terms of delivered loan volume for the same time period. Berkadia was the sole lender to rank in the top three with both organizations in 2015.

Prior to joining Berkadia, Lutz was with Fannie Mae where he was an officer of the company, having acquired extensive experience in managing lender relationships and customers, developing business and resolving troubled loans.

Lutz has a master’s degree in business administration from Villanova University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University.

About Berkadia

Founded in 2009 as a 50/50 joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation, Berkadia is a third-party commercial mortgage servicer, as well as an approved lender for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD/FHA. The company was among the top Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily lenders for 2013.

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.

© 2016 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.

New Report Forecasts Strong Growth for Global Roofing Systems

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A new report by Research and Markets forecasts strong world-wide growth over the next five years for roofing manufacturers, including Berkshire Hathaway’s Johns Manville.

The report, “Roofing Systems Market by Material (Asphalt, Metal, Plastic, Clay, Concrete), Product (Shingles & Plates, Tiles), Construction Type (New Construction & Reform Construction), End-Use Sector (Residential & Non-Residential) – Global Forecast to 2021,” notes that the global market for roofing systems is projected to grow from USD 109.72 billion in 2016 to reach USD 157.56 billion by 2021.

The compound annual growth rate is estimated to be a robust 3.06% from 2016 to 2021.

The report cites growth in the construction industry throughout the world as well as government regulations regarding zero energy building codes and green roofing have played a huge role in providing the necessary momentum to the roofing systems market, after the economic slowdown between 2007 and 2009.

© 2016 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.

ZAK Products Has Three-Year Sales Growth of 58 percent

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For the fourth consecutive year, ZAK Products, a Berkshire Hathaway company, has been named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

ZAK Products has had three-year sales growth of 58 percent.

Founded in 2002, and headquartered in Dallas, ZAK Products is a provider of professional grade automotive fluid and maintenance products to certified professional automotive service centers and franchised car dealerships across the United States.

The Inc. 5000 list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Pandora and Zillow first gained their national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000, and ZAK joins other prominent brands featured in this year’s rankings.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as one of the top-performing businesses for the fourth consecutive time on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list,” said Vic Keller, founder of ZAK Products. “I am beyond proud of the dedication and relentless determination of our employees, which has been a driving factor for the continued growth and success of ZAK. Since the company began, it has been our goal to foster innovative tactics that change the way our industry does business. We continue to find creative and streamlined ways to improve our products and processes while building the trust and confidence of our partners. I believe the Inc. 5000 recognition is a reflection of that culture, and I am excited for our team to continue to propel ZAK’s growth into the future.”

Zak Products credits much of its success to its close relationship with NASCAR. The company’s official partner status began in 2010 with the designation of ZAK as the #1 Professional Maintenance Fluid of NASCAR.

© 2016 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.

Mouser Electronics Expands India Presence as APAC Revenues Grow

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Mouser Electronics is increasing its presence in India as it continues to have strong revenue growth in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC). The company also promoted Daphne Tien, who previously served as Director, Marketing & Business Development – APAC.

Mouser is a subsidiary of TTI Inc., which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Mouser first entered the India market five years ago, establishing an office with seven employees. The company now has 34 employees and has opened new offices as it anticipates further staffing increases that will double that amount.

Growing APAC Sales

Mouser has had dramatic growth over the past five years in China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and other APAC countries. Over that period, Mouser’s APAC revenue and customer base have tripled, and the company has received more than 30 significant recognition awards from leading publications and key manufacturers in APAC.

Recently, Mouser elevated Daphne Tien to Vice President of Marketing-APAC. Tien joined Mouser Electronics in 2011 to build an APAC marketing team from the ground up. She has acted as a prime local language spokesperson for Mouser in APAC to deliver the company’s brand value and differentiation in China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and other APAC countries.

Tien began her career in Yageo Corporation, a global leading provider of passive components, where she was quickly promoted to Country Manager to run the sales and operations in their Hong Kong branch. In just one year, she turned losses into profits and increased revenue by 10 times the next year.

As Tien attained roles with increasing responsibilities, she developed Yageo’s business around the world, ultimately serving as the company’s Global Head of Distribution.

“I greatly appreciate the confidence Mouser and the markets have shown in me,” Tien said. “I know that with the fine team of professionals we have throughout Asia, we are going to achieve even greater successes.”

About Mouser Electronics

Mouser Electronics is an authorized semiconductor and electronic component distributor, focused on the rapid introduction of new products and technologies to electronic design engineers and buyers. Mouser.com features more than 4 million products online from more than 600 manufacturers.

The company become part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies when TTI was acquired in 2007.

© 2016 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 Grows Phillips 66 Position

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Berkshire Hathaway continues to believe in refiner Phillips 66 (PSX) and increased its ownership stake in the second quarter.

Berkshire increased its 75.55 million shares position to 78.782 million shares as of June 30, 2016.

Berkshire and Phillips 66

In early 2014, Berkshire swapped a large portion of its previous Phillips 66 position for the Houston-based company’s chemical business unit, which was added to Berkshire’s specialty chemical maker Lubrizol.

“We were able to do that on a tax-advantage basis. We didn’t trade them because we didn’t like the stock,” Warren Buffett commented at the time on CNBC’s Squawk Alley. “I had always intended on coming back in, assuming that the price was right.”

In August 2015, Berkshire Hathaway revealed that it again owned more than ten-percent of Phillips 66.

After hitting a high of $94.12 in November 2015, the stock was at $78.05 at the closing bell on August 19, 2016.

About Phillips 66

Phillips 66 was spun-off of ConocoPhillips in May 2012, and its refining and petrochemical business has been mostly immune to the downward pressure on oil prices, as the demand for refined products, including gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel remains strong. Phillips 66 also transports crude oil, refined products, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL). It gathers, processes and markets natural gas and NGL to power businesses, heat homes and provide feedstock to the petrochemical industry.

© 2016 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 Teams with Tego to Offer Medical Indemnity Insurance in Australia

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI) and Tego Insurance have entered into an exclusive underwriting agreement to provide medical indemnity insurance to medical practitioners in Australia.

“We are delighted to work with Tego to bring BHSI’s medical indemnity experience and unrivalled financial backing to the Australian market,” said Tony Bainbridge, Head of Healthcare, Australia, BHSI. “Our combined offering will bring additional choice, flexibility and financial security to Australian doctors.”

“The word Tego originates from Latin, meaning to defend and protect, and that is exactly what we focus on,” said Eric Lowenstein, Chief Executive Officer of Tego. “With a focus on superior customer service and industry-leading products – value is always top of mind.”

With BHSI’s entry into the Australian marketplace, doctors have a new choice in medical indemnity insurance, supported by a technically strong underwriting and claims handling team.

“Claims and complaints can be very stressful for practitioners. We are committed to excellence in claims handling, technical expertise and efficiency,” said Nicole Kroesche, Head of Healthcare Claims, BHSI. “Working closely with the practitioner and supporting them through a claim allows them to get back to focusing on providing quality patient care and worrying less about the claim itself.”

The introduction of innovative products to address the changes in the medical practice, and also the technology trends affecting the medical practitioner, is the goal of Tego and BHSI. As part of its underwriting process, BHSI reviews the individual characteristics of each medical practice since all practices in a particular medical specialty may not automatically pose the same level of risk. This tailored pricing approach may result in significant savings for individual practices.

© 2016 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 Travel Protection Teams Up With TripInsuranceZone

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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) has teamed up with TripInsuranceZone to bring BHTP’s suite of travel insurance products to the online travel insurance comparison website TripInsuranceZone.com.

Products to be offered through the website include BHTP’s ExactCare™, which provides travelers with comprehensive travel and medical benefits that feature Primary Emergency Medical coverage (including pre-existing conditions when purchased within 15-days of the initial trip deposit).

ExactCare also offers Trip Cancellation and Interruption, Medical Evacuation and Repatriation, AD&D, and Loss and Delay benefits.

“We are thrilled the customers of TripInsuranceZone.com can now access BHTP products and standout service,” said Dean Sivley, President of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.

Using TripInsuranceZone’s unique comparison engine, travelers can research, quote, compare and purchase travel insurance from most major travel insurance providers in the United States.

“BHTP is bringing a unique set of travel insurance options to our customers. AirCare takes away inconveniences customers could experience when unexpected events occur during their flights, and ExactCare provides traditional comprehensive coverage with a quick and easy claims and payment process. We are very excited to have both set of products available on the TripInsuranceZone.com,” said Mariya Frayman, President of TripInsuranceZone.

Along with coverage, BHTP provides travelers with access to advanced mobile and claims technology that allows BHTP to process and pay a traveler’s claim within seconds once it has been reviewed and approved. Travelers simply upload all necessary documentation to start a claim, and then set-up their preferred method of electronic payment in their profile. This process can be done online at BHTP.com or by downloading their mobile application available for Android and iOS devices.

“Waiting weeks, or even days, for travelers to receive payments for travel emergencies and mishaps is a thing of the past. We’ve developed our claims processing to pay travelers quickly, so they can access those funds while they are still on their trip,” Dean said.

© 2016 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 Terminates Agreements with Astral Poly-Technik

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The Lubrizol Corporation has 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.

Lubrizol, which is the inventor of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), is known in India amongst the engineers, builders, constructors and plumbers for its globally approved and certified CPVC compounds used in pipes for plumbing, fire protection and industrial applications.

The move comes out of Astral Poly-Technik Ltd’s recent decision to begin local compounding of material and launch house branded lines of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), which is in conflict with Lubrizol’s long established and successful CPVC branded business model.

With termination of this partnership, starting from October 9, 2016, Astral will no longer have access to Lubrizol’s compound or manufacturing assistance, and will no longer be permitted to sell FlowGuard, BlazeMaster or Corzan branded pipes and fittings.

Lubrizol, the owner of the trademarks, will continue to make its CPVC brands and products available in wide distribution throughout India from other Lubrizol contracted partners.

Commenting on the termination of partnership with Astral Poly-Technik Limited, Mathew Timmons, Managing Director, Lubrizol Advanced Materials India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Lubrizol is dedicated to supplying the highest quality CPVC products to service the Indian market. Our commitment remains steadfast through our support of processors like Ashirvad Pipes Pvt. Ltd. who continue to benefit from our more than 50 years of expertise in compounding and manufacturing CPVC.”

Lubrizol in India

In February 2016, Lubrizol Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, opened a chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) compounding plant in Dahej, India. Lubrizol invested $50 million U.S. (INR 325 CR) in the plant, which has a capacity to produce approximately 55,000 metric tons of compounds annually.

© 2016 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 Named BPO Organization of the Year

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Berkadia, a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation, has again been recognized by CMO Asia for its outstanding Real Estate Servicing operations in Hyderabad, India.

Berkadia was named BPO Organization of the Year and one of Asia’s Best Employer Brands at the Outsourcing Excellence Awards ceremony held on August 5 in Singapore.

Ned Mody, Country Manager for Berkadia’s operations in India, was on hand to accept the awards. The ceremony was attended by representatives from nearly 500 companies.

“We are honored to be named BPO Organization of the Year for the second year in a row and one of Asia’s Best Employer Brands by such an esteemed organization as CMO Asia,” said Ned Mody. “To be recognized as one of the Best Employer Brands affirms Berkadia’s core belief that people matter as we foster a culture of collaboration, engagement and support in our day-to-day operations. We are proud to be acknowledged among our peers for our commitment to the development of our employees and our platform.”

Berkadia’s servicing platform supports all commercial real estate products and market sectors including commercial mortgage-backed securities, balance sheet lending, life company portfolios, agency programs, institutional investments and other servicers.

“We thank CMO Asia for their recognition and we commend our teams both in India and the U.S. for their unyielding support and hard work,” said Mark McCool, President of Berkadia Commercial Real Estate Services. “Without their knowledge and expertise, we wouldn’t be able to provide the consistent high-level of service our clients have come to expect from Berkadia. Our Hyderabad and U.S. Servicing operations work together seamlessly and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

CMO Asia is a leadership and networking organization dedicated to knowledge exchange for senior executives across industries. The Asia Outsourcing Excellence Awards recognize companies who demonstrate best practices, create and sustain competitive advantage, provide business transformation and achieve value that, over time, benefits both the buyer and service provider.

© 2016 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.

Record Grain Shipments Mean Good News for BNSF

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

This has been a year to forget for BNSF Railway, with low oil prices and slack coal demand hitting the nation‘s top freight railway hard. Fortunately, there is finally some good news, as record grain production is boosting BNSF’s grain shipments.

Bin-buster

U.S. wheat and corn farmers are calling this year’s record crops a “bin-buster.” The crop yields will likely set a new all-time high as compared to the final yield in 2015. Grain production has been so good that silos in some areas are already reaching capacity, even before the September 1 start of the harvesting of the fall wheat crop.

Near Hutchinson, Kansas, an old runway is even being used to pile up wheat due to a lack of grain elevator storage space.

Even before the fall harvest, BNSF’s grain shipments are already up a dramatic 25.95 % so far in the 3rd quarter, and are up a very solid 7.91 % year-to-date.

A key factor for BNSF in its increased capacity for grain shipping come from its investment in Great Northern Corridor track upgrades made in 2013-2015.

Back in June of 2014, the average delay for grain shipping was running at 32 days. The improved track and signaling on the Great Northern Corridor, coupled with oil trains running at a level that is half what it was just a year ago, have enabled BNSF to move the grain without significant delays.

BNSF’s grain shuttle trains have hit record numbers, with 130 shuttle trains shipped or scheduled to be shipped during July and August

An additional 137 of BNSF’s 110-car unit trains are scheduled to transport the fall harvest of corn, soybeans and other late season crops.

© 2016 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.