BYD/ADL Partnership Sell 19 Additional Electric Buses to Go-Ahead London

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Chinese new energy technology company BYD through its ADL/BYD electric bus partnership has secured a third order from Go-Ahead London – for a total of 30 of its BYD ADL Enviro200EV 10.8m models.

Eleven of the buses will operate on Transport for London’s route 153 from February 2018 A further 19 electric buses will operate route 214 from August 2019. All will be based at Go-Ahead London’s Northumberland Park in North London which will be equipped with BYD supplied charging equipment.

The new order means that Go-Ahead London will have in service a total of 95 BYD ADL pure electric buses based at three depots – Waterloo, Camberwell and Northumberland Park.

Today’s announcement follows the news last month that another TfL operator, London United – part of RATP Dev, has ordered 36 ADL BYD electric buses. The BYD ADL partnership anticipates further orders imminently as other TfL tenders are awarded.

Richard Harrington, Engineering Director at Go-Ahead Group, said: “We are without doubt the pre-eminent operator of electric buses in London and have accrued significant experience of their operation. The fact is that the BYD ADL products have proved themselves capable of replacing diesel buses without any operational impact in terms of daily scheduling. Careful planning of the depot recharge facilities and infrastructure is of course necessary but we have no need to use any opportunity charging.”

Isbrand Ho, Managing Director BYD Europe, said: “The strength of the combined BYD ADL offer is now clear for all to see. Go-Ahead London’s initial fleet of 51 has been in operation for almost 10 months now, operating reliably and effectively day in, day out. No further trials are necessary – these products deliver outstanding efficiency and environmental benefits today and we are optimistic of further significant orders.”

Robert Davey, ADL’s Group Commercial and Business Development Director, commented: “There can be no excuses now. Faced with the air quality crisis, city transport authorities and operators across the UK can confidently order the BYD ADL Enviro200EV at whatever length suits them secure in the knowledge that our product works well and can replace diesel buses without operational compromises.”

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 $1.8 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.

Intero Commercial’s Efi Luzon Named the #2 Individual Sales Agent for Transaction Volume in REAL Trend’s “The Thousand”

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Efi Luzon, senior vice president of Intero Commercial was recently named the number two individual sales agent for transaction volume in the nationwide REAL Trend’s “The Thousand” announced on June 23, 2017.

David Troyer and his team of REALTORS from Intero Real Estate Services’ Los Altos office were named the twenty-seventh team for transaction volume.

The awards program acknowledging the most accomplished one thousand agents was developed in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal, Custom Studios, and REAL Trends, a leading source of analysis and information for the residential and commercial real estate brokerage industry. REAL Trend’s “The Thousand” recognizes individuals and teams who exhibit superior performance, oftentimes, as mentioned on REAL Trend’s website, “nearly 20 times” that of their peers. Categories consist of total number of real estate transactions, total transaction volume, and average sales price, over a year period. The REAL Trend’s “The Thousand” report, verified by an independent third party, reveals Efi’s total transaction volume as $834,574,000 and the Troyer Group’s total transaction volume as $311,727,034.

Efi’s and David’s career performance that led to this recognition comes as no surprise to the many colleagues who have seen firsthand their accomplishments.

After many years of witnessing Efi’s consistent performance in negotiating complex multi-million dollar deals, John Thompson, Intero COO, says, “Efi truly deserves this acknowledgement. The sheer number of successful deals throughout his career in real estate is testimony to Efi’s exceptional negotiation skills, his amazing patience and fortitude, and his ability to understand and expertly manage the intricacies of complicated transactions.”

Intero’s president and CEO, Tom Tognoli, comments, “I watch David and his team with amazement. They’re a powerhouse of resolve and business savvy with every real estate transaction. I am grateful to have such accomplished REALTORS and teams as part of Intero. Efi and David are models of the type of business ethics and commitment level Intero strives for and comes to expect from every realtor. We couldn’t be happier for all our agents that made the list!”

Additionally, Intero Real Estate saw many more of their own agents recognized this year in “The Thousand.” “We would also like to acknowledge other exceptional individuals and teams from Intero that made the top 1000,” Tom Tognoli continues. “We’re so proud of each and every one, and we will continue to support them all to keep reaching significant milestones in their careers at Intero.”

Agents and teams from Intero who cleared the top 50 of the prestigious The Thousand:

∙ #2 Individuals by Transaction Volume Efi Luzon
∙ #27 Teams by Transaction Volume The Troyer Group

Intero individual agents and teams who made The Thousand’s top 250:

∙ #162 Teams by Transaction Volume Tse Group
∙ #201 Individuals by Transaction Volume Valerie Mein
∙ #247 Individuals by Transaction Volume Greg Goumas

Intero Real Estate Services is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America Inc.

© 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.

Carloads Show Positive Numbers for BNSF

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Half way through the year, higher carload numbers are continuing to bring good news to BNSF Railway when compared to 2016 levels.

Slumping volumes in 2016 saw the total intermodal and carload volumes down 4.94% from 2015 levels, with coal shipments slumping 20.88% from 2015 levels.

Coal is still leading the way in the recovery, with shipments up a strong 19.83% year-to-date through July 8, as compared to the same period in 2016.

Also up a solid 5.12% are intermodal shipments.

While petroleum shipments continue to slide, with year-to-date numbers down 14.23%, the combined intermodal and carloads numbers are up 7.49% in the aggregate.

© 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 Lines Up Support for Oncor Deal

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Berkshire Hathaway Energy has announced the support of new Texas stakeholder groups for its proposed acquisition of Oncor Electric Delivery Company.

The announcement adds to an influential list of Texas business, community and consumer groups that have endorsed Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s bid for Oncor.
TXU Energy, NRG Energy, the Texas Energy Association for Marketers (TEAM) and the Alliance for Retail Markets (ARM) have signed a growing list of regulatory commitments proposed by Berkshire Hathaway Energy and agreed to support approval of the transaction as proposed.

“Today’s announcement illustrates the growing support for Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s proposed acquisition of Oncor,” said Greg Abel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy chairman, president and CEO. “Ours is a different kind of proposal. It’s one that hasn’t been seen before, and we want Texans to know that we will be a stable, long-term partner.”

In addition to the 44 regulatory commitments previously proposed by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the company today also announced the addition of three more commitments that support the successful competitive energy market in Texas.

“Berkshire Hathaway Energy has worked tirelessly to put together a widely supported deal for Oncor customers, one that supports growing the Texas economy,” said Bob Shapard, Oncor CEO.

TXU Energy and NRG Energy represent two of the largest retail electric providers in Texas, with TEAM and ARM representing dozens of Texas electric market participants.

ARM participating members include Champion Energy Services, LLC; Direct Energy, L.P.; NRG Retail Companies; and TXU Energy Retail Company LLC.

Berkshire believes that having the support of these entities further distinguishes this transaction from those that have been previously proposed and demonstrates a growing momentum that provides the largest infrastructure company in Texas with the backing and financial resources of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

“We will continue working with the state of Texas and other interested parties to provide long-term value for Texans. Once all necessary approvals are received, we look forward to Oncor joining the Berkshire Hathaway Energy family of companies,” said Abel.

Today’s announcement brings the total number of influential Texas stakeholder groups that support Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s proposed acquisition of Oncor to eight, including: Cities Served by Oncor, Texas Industrial Energy Consumers, Office of Public Utility Counsel, and Public Utility Commission Staff.

© 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.

Star Furniture Names New CEO

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Houston-based Star Furniture has chosen Bob Price as its new CEO.

Price had been senior vice president of merchandising and inventory management at Art Van Furniture, and has more than four decades of experience in the retail sector, including 30 years at JC Penney.

“Bob is the right person to lead Star into its second century. While we conducted a nationwide search to fill this important position, it became clear that Bob met every criterion for this position,” said Irv Blumkin, Star’s Chairman of the Board. Blumkin is also CEO of Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Founded in the early 1900s by several men that pooled their money to purchase a horse and wagon to deliver furniture, Star Furniture became a retail store in 1912. The company currently has 11 stores, and is currently ranked fourth in the U.S. in furniture sales.

The company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1997.

© 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.

Fleet of BYD’s Electric Buses Headed to Chile’s Public Transit System

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New energy technology company BYD and Enel Chile recently signed a trade agreement in Santiago, focusing on developing a commercial strategy to strengthen electric mobility in Chile from a global perspective.

The agreement will kick off with a fleet of electric buses that are planned for the new tender of the public transportation system.

The Commercial Agreement was signed by Stella Li, BYD’s Senior Vice President and Nicola Cotugno, CEO of Enel Chile.

The agreement seeks to make available at least 90 buses to the current operators. These buses have been required by Chile Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications to be offered within the framework of the next Transantiago’s bidding process, South America’s largest public urban transportation system.

Through this strategic alliance, both companies will seek to lead the implementation of high-standard and 100% electric bus fleets.

“We can easily supply the Chilean market with our ebuses. They have been thoroughly tested in mass international operations, proving that our technology is mature. Moreover, they represent huge reductions in maintenance and energy costs.” said Stella Li.

The purpose of the alliance is not only focused on strengthening the introduction of electric vehicle operations in Transantiago, but also on implementing a model for smaller fleets in the private transport sector, especially focused on municipalities, government institutions or universities.

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 $1.8 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.

Intero Real Estate Services Opens in Vietnam

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Intero Real Estate Services, a subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., has opened a real estate showroom in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to market their listing and promote US real estate investment to the Southeast Asia luxury market.

Intero also sent a team to the invitation-only luxury property show in China, LPS Beijing, which was held last month, June 16th through the 18th.

With more than 6,000 potential investors over the 3 day conference, having a large presence at LPS strengthens Intero’s commitment to providing global exposure for its luxury property collection.

Representing the Intero brand was Alain Pinel, General Manager of Intero Prestigio International, as well as Yoga Yang, Mitch Wong and Li-Wu Yang, all part of Intero’s International Realtor Team. Alain was also a feature speaker to an audience of highly motivated Chinese buyers interested in Silicon Valley and the greater North America region.

The LPS conference occurs twice a year bringing together a number of real estate professionals exhibiting high-end properties around the world. Intero CEO Tom Tognoli and other representatives from Intero will also be attending the LPS conference to be held in Shanghai in December.

To further its global exposure, Intero has opened a showroom in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This will serve as a strategic location for Intero to feature its listing inventory, and a touch point in providing a higher level of customer service and a stronger relationship with wealthy investors all throughout Southeast Asia.

“Last year, foreign buyers purchased more than 200,000 homes in the US for a total sales volume in excess of $100 billion. Roughly half of this dollar amount was the fact of Chinese buyers. Their impact on U.S. real estate sales has been and still is significant, to say the least. It is imperative for Intero’s sellers that our properties and brand stay clearly in front of this market now and for years to come,” states Alain Pinel.

© 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.

Sacramento’s Elite Real Estate Joins Berkshire Network, Changes Name

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, has announced that independent brokerage Elite Realty Services based in Sacramento, California, will join the network beginning July 25 and change its name to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate.
Robert Do, brokerage president and CEO, announced the transition yesterday to his team of 180 agents and staff at their Sacramento headquarters.

“Our brokerage has grown nicely over the years yet now we step to a whole new level of brand awareness, agent resources and marketing,” Do explained. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices gives us everything we need to grow and provide even better service to our clients and agents.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices remains one of America’s fastest-growing brokerage networks with nearly 43,500 agents and 1,313 offices named to the brand since its 2013 launch. The brand’s namesake is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., among the world’s most trusted and respected corporations. “The network is built on Berkshire Hathaway’s value set of trust, integrity, stability and longevity,” Do pointed out. “We strongly identify with these values and are proud to represent Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Sacramento County and surrounding areas.”

Do expects to grow his brokerage as a result the transition. The agent-centric CEO, who owns his Sacramento headquarters building at 7412 Elsie Ave., wants to add at least three offices and double his agent count over the next few years. “At Elite Real Estate, everything we do focuses on helping our agents grow their business and prosper,” he said. “We are a great home for agents; the future has never been brighter for our team.”

With their transition, Elite Real Estate agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite focusing on lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. Beyond technology, the brand provides national and international marketing support, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection for high-end listings.

“My team is already tech-savvy so the Global Network Platform will help us supercharge our client service and efficiency,” said Do, who has more than 20 years’ experience in real estate and has trained thousands of agents. “We will be our very best for our home-buyers and sellers.”

Elite Real Estate will commemorate its transition July 25 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and agent luncheon. Its new Cabernet and White yard signs will appear in the marketplace starting that day.

“We are proud to welcome Robert and his team to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” said Gino Blefari, president and CEO of the network. “Elite Real Estate has earned a strong reputation in the marketplace and is marvelously diverse. It’s well positioned for years of growth in Sacramento.”

© 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.

Dairy Queen Ranked #6 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchises

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Dairy Queen is ranked #6 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchises for 2017.

The list is Entrepreneur’s 38th annual Franchise 500 ranking, and franchisor’s where ranked based on Costs and Fees, Size and Growth, Support, Brand Strength, and Financial Strength and Stability.

Franchisors must have had a minimum of 10 units open and operating as of July 31, 2016, with at least one franchise located in either the U.S. or Canada.

Owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Dairy Queen most certainly has the strongest financial strength of any franchise, and its long history that dates back to 1940 certainly speaks to brand loyalty.

© 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.

Clayton Homes Acquires Fourth Site Builder

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes has acquired Oakwood Homes, Colorado’s largest privately held homebuilder and community developer, and the approximately 18,000 lots it owns and controls. The company is the fourth site builder that Clayton has acquired since 2015, and it currently owns homebuilding companies in Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia.

The deal closed on July 3, 2017.

“Oakwood Homes has an impressive history of homebuilding innovation, and practices a relentless commitment to quality and service for its customer base,” said Keith Holdbrooks, president of Clayton home building group. “Oakwood’s self-sustaining operating model, company culture and core values align well with Clayton’s, which is paramount when we acquire a company. We look forward to working together with Oakwood to improve the homebuyer experience while providing greater cost-saving opportunities for homebuyers.”

Founded in 1991 by CEO Pat Hamill, Oakwood Homes builds modern, distinct communities throughout Colorado and Utah that are recognized for their innovative designs, energy efficient homes and highly customizable building processes. The company sold 1,200 homes in 2016 alone, which represents a 20 percent increase from 2015. Oakwood Homes differentiates itself through its commitment to both customer and team-member experiences.

Clayton entered the site-built industry in 2015 through its Clayton Properties division in order to provide industry-leading homebuilding solutions and improve the experience of modern-day homebuyers. Since 2015, Clayton has increased its homebuilder portfolio by acquiring like-minded, innovative companies in strong growth markets, such as Summit Homes in Kansas City, Mo., Goodall Homes in Gallatin, Tenn., and Chafin Communities in Atlanta, Ga.

“After more than two decades of building beautifully functional new homes in Colorado and Utah as a privately held company, we are excited to join forces with Clayton,” said Pat Hamill. “This partnership is part of our strategic vision to continue our steady growth and to provide a very high standard of customer service for our loyal consumers, all while keeping our existing leadership team.”

In 2016, Clayton built more than 42,000 homes. Site built homes are an increasing focus as they have a higher price point than Clayton’s mobile home business.

© 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.