Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Forms Alliance with HomeKeepr

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has formed a strategic alliance with HomeKeepr, the nation’s only online home services marketplace.

HomeKeepr gathers and displays contractors and other home service pros based on more than six million word-of-mouth recommendations. Network agents receive a profile page and custom-branded mobile app on which they may add recommendations and refer home service pros to their clients. HomeKeepr’s referral platform is updated in real time so that only trusted home pros are available through the system.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ alliance with HomeKeepr is called “FOREVER Connected by HomeKeepr,” as it fits with the network’s “FOREVER” Brand mission to serve and keep clients for life.

“FOREVER Connected by HomeKeepr will empower our network agents to support their clients at every stage of homeownership and, by sharing trusted pros and useful information, those relationships stand the test of time,” said Chris Stuart, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “The platform is just one more resource available to our network professionals to help become ‘FOREVER Agents’ in the eyes of their clients.”
FOREVER Connected by HomeKeepr also includes a home improvement blog where visitors gain valuable information on home projects, design trends and much more.

“We are thrilled to align with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professionals to help them nurture their local client relationships and also support local commerce,” said Rob Morelli, CEO and co-founder of HomeKeepr. “With FOREVER Connected by HomeKeepr, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professionals remain at the center of those valuable, home services conversations and better connected with their clients over time.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices secures preferred alliances with selected vendors to strengthen the resources available to its network members across the world. The network remains one of America’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage franchise networks with more than 50,000 agents and nearly 1,500 offices added to the brand since its launch six years ago.

© 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.

Home Edge Realty Group Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has announced that Home Edge Realty Group has joined the network operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Home Edge Realty Group.

The company, founded in 2013 by owners Henry Chiarkas and Jacqui Chiarkas, is a market leader in State College, Bellefonte, Boalsburg and surrounding communities. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices remains one of America’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage franchise networks with more than 50,000 agents and nearly 1,500 offices added to the brand since its launch six years ago. This includes global network members across Western Europe and in Dubai, U.A.E.

“We are pleased to welcome Henry and Jacqui Chiarkas and their skilled Home Edge Realty Team to the network,” said Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO Chris Stuart. “The group is highly regarded for its market expertise, thorough preparation and relentless client service. In fact, much of its business comes through the referrals and repeat business of its many satisfied customers.”

“We are proud and excited to represent the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand in State College and our other markets,” said Henry Chiarkas, Home Edge Realty Group broker. “It seems the brand is everywhere but here, and that certainly changes with our brand membership.”

Jacqui Chiarkas explained that the brokerage had grown about as much as it could as an independent company. “By joining Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we gain a prestigious, global brand with the tools and resources to help our agents grow their businesses and provide even better service,” she said.

With their brand transition, Home Edge Realty Group agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ active referral and relocation networks, and its “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, professional training and ongoing education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings. Its Prestige Magazine showcases network members’ premium listings with a strong lineup of feature stories covering topics that appeal to high-end real estate consumers.

Henry Chiarkas said the brokerage will launch a recruiting campaign to double the size of its agent team over the next year. The entire staff will operate from Home Edge Realty Group’s brand-new corporate headquarters at 431 Science Park Road in State College starting in late December.

© 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 Specialty Insurance Offers Commercial Crime Insurance in Asia

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is offering Commercial Crime Insurance in Asia. The new policy is designed to help companies address the exposures of a changing fraud landscape.

“Corporate fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated as technology advances at an exponential pace across the globe. Companies now face new threats and are tasked with protecting both traditional and digital assets,” said Scotland Walsh-Riddle, Head of Executive & Professional Lines, BHSI Asia. “Our policy is important protection for a company’s balance sheet by both insuring against losses arising from a wide range of threats and providing support to investigate the cause of a loss.”

BHSI’s Commercial Crime Insurance Policy offers concise contract language for commercial organizations and includes coverage for both traditional employee crime and external crimes, including funds transfer fraud, credit card fraud, forgery, and impersonation coverage. Impersonation coverage responds to losses arising when a perpetrator impersonates an employee, executive or business associate of the insured for the purpose of defrauding the insured.

“Impersonation fraud is quickly becoming a systemic issue around the world. We’ve recently seen a social engineering scheme utilize artificial intelligence-based software to impersonate an executive. These schemes are testing the boundaries of what companies can prepare for – and we are committed to helping our customers protect against this rising threat,” said Scotland.

The Commercial Crime Insurance Policy also includes numerous extensions, including coverage for lost establishment fees an insured incurs to establish the existence and quantum of a loss.

“The Commercial Crime Policy was crafted with BHSI’s clear and concise underwriting and is backed by our excellent claims handling,” said Scotland. “Through BHSI’s unparalleled financial strength and experience, our customers and brokers can have the confidence BHSI will be there when it matters most.”

© 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.

Duracell Expanding Plant Capacity & Hiring in Cleveland

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Duracell is expanding its manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Ohio. The move will add 20,000 square-feet of manufacturing capacity to the plants current 190,000 square-feet.

Duracell will also hire 66 additional employees at the Mouse Creek Road plant, to makes components for AA and AAA batteries. The components are then shipped to Duracell’s LaGrange, Georgia, plant for final assembly of the batteries. The Mouse Creek Road plant currently produces C and D batteries for the world-wide market.

The 66 jobs will consist of 30 new full-time positions and 36 contractor jobs.

Groundbreaking for the project will begin in two weeks, with construction by Cleveland-based Tri-Con Inc. Commercial operation in the new space is expected by June 2020.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired Duracell when it cashed out of its minority stake in Procter & Gamble in 2016.

© 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-Owned Company Gets Help From ITC With Order Banning Importation of Patent Infringing Water Filters

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The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) has issued an order banning the importation of refrigerator water filters that infringed patents owned by Berkshire Hathaway’s KX Technologies LLC and licensed to Electrolux Home Products, Inc.

KX Technologies is a global leader in the design and production of drinking water filtration products including under-sink and countertop filtration units, point-of-use and point-of-entry systems, and refrigerator water and ice filtration systems.

“This is a significant win for KX Technologies and an even bigger win for American consumers,” said KX President Jerome Barrillon.

Barrillon cited a recent study by the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers, which concluded that “counterfeit refrigerator water filters pose a serious risk to consumer health and safety.” The study revealed these counterfeit filters have “an overwhelming failure to remove harmful contaminants” that could harm the well-being of American consumers.

“KX is committed to upholding NSF-certified standards in our technologies and products to deliver safe, high quality water,” Barrillon said. “This important ruling will help ensure consumers can purchase water filters with confidence in the product’s performance.”

To help stop the flow of counterfeit filters into the U.S., on June 8, 2018, KX joined Electrolux in filing a complaint requesting that the ITC investigate the importation of infringing water filters into the country.

Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 provides for the investigation of any unfair act in the importation of articles into the U.S., including the enforcement of intellectual property rights. If the ITC finds a violation of Section 337, it may issue (1) an exclusion order banning importation of the infringing goods and/or (2) a cease-and-desist order preventing the sale and distribution of the infringing goods, subject to severe civil penalties.

Because the infringing water filters were so numerous and the sources of the products were difficult or impossible to identify, the ITC issued a sweeping “General Exclusion Order” banning infringing water filters from any source, even if the party seeking to import the products was not specifically named in the investigation. The ITC also issued cease-and-desist orders preventing certain named parties from any commercial activity involving the infringing filters.

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.

BHE Canada to Build Wind Farm in Alberta

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Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s BHE Canada subsidiary will build a 117.6MW wind farm in the village of Whitla, southwest of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

The Rattlesnake Ridge Wind Power Project will consist of 28 – 4.2MW wind turbines generating a combined 117.6MW of electricity. Although a turbine model and layout has been finalized for permitting, the application to the AUC allows the company the flexibility to change the turbine model and layout, pending on-going discussions with turbine manufacturers.

The only current anticipated change would be removing 2 turbine locations and using a turbine with a slightly higher nameplate capacity. The general turbine characteristics would remain unchanged.

The project will t-tap 879L, the 138kV transmission line, owned and operated by Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s AltaLink, which is located within the south end of the Project area.

AltaLink is Alberta’s largest regulated electricity transmission company, and was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Energy in 2014.

The project will begin construction in the summer of 2020, with a target date for commercial operation of December 2021.

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.

Value Investing: Don’t Buy a Pig in a Poke

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Part of an occasional series on Value Investing

Don’t buy a pig in a poke. It’s an old expression that traces its usage to the Middle Ages when unscrupulous merchants would sell what was supposedly a suckling pig to unsuspecting victims only to have them later find that their bags contained a cat or a dog.

How does that apply to Value Investing? Simple. Know your investment.

If you are a Value Investor your goal is to understand what a business is, not just what it claims to be, or what others say it is.

Before you invest, have you closely studied the stock you are buying?

What are the past 10 years of earnings? Are they consistently growing?

What is the return on equity?

What does the company do with retained earnings?

Have you read the past 10 years of annual reports?

How strong is the management team? Do they align with shareholders’ interests?

What is the company’s intrinsic value?

What is the company’s price history? Can you provide a reason why you should buy now?

If this all sounds like too much work, there’s nothing wrong with building a balanced portfolio of index funds. However, if you are the kind of investor that likes to hunt for opportunities, likes to know about the individual companies you are buying, and doesn’t want to buy a pig in a poke, then answering these questions will be essential to using a Value Investing approach.

There’s a whole financial industry designed to take the thinking out of investing. Whether it is from talking heads on TV or the Internet, or investment company recommendations, and they can be a poor substitute for your own research and your own studious analysis.

In the end, it comes down to knowing your investment, so you don’t buy a pig in a poke.

Or as Warren Buffett once said: “Any time you combine ignorance and borrowed money you can get some pretty interesting consequences.”*

*1994 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

© 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.

Norway Latest Country for BYD

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China’s BYD has received an eBus order for Oslo, Norway, as the company continues to make inroads in the European market.

Unibuss, a Norwegian bus company based in Oslo, has placed an initial order for 23 new 12 metre pure electric BYD eBuses.

The buses are expected to go into service in the second quarter of 2020.

The Unibuss order comes on the heels of a 55 eBus order from Norway’s government-owned national rail and bus company.

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.

Anheuser-Busch Highlights First Zero-Emission Beer Delivery Featuring BYD Truck

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Beer brewer Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with Nikola Motor Company (Nikola) and BYD Motors LLC, completed their first ever ‘Zero-Emission Beer Delivery’ in the company’s hometown of St. Louis – utilizing both companies’ innovative fleet technology to deliver beer from the local Anheuser-Busch brewery to the Enterprise Center using only zero-emission trucks.

The Nikola hydrogen-electric truck picked up the load of beer, including flagship beer brand Bud Light, and delivered it to Anheuser-Busch local wholesaler partner, Lohr Distributors – marking the first commercial delivery onboard a Nikola hydrogen-electric vehicle. Lohr Distributors then delivered the beer to the Enterprise Center, home of the St. Louis Blues, on a BYD electric truck – a milestone delivery for the brewer as the beer reached its destination with zero-emissions from transportation.

“At Anheuser-Busch, we are continuously searching for innovative ways to improve sustainability across our entire value chain, progressing towards reaching our sustainability goals and driving our industry forward,” said Ingrid De Ryck, Vice President of Procurement and Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch. “No single company can build a more sustainable future alone but this zero-emission delivery has shown what is possible when we bring together the various strengths and assets within our supplier network to work towards a shared objective of a better world.”

The delivery builds on Anheuser-Busch’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and existing partnerships with both Nikola and BYD. Through their 2025 Sustainability Goals, Anheuser-Busch has committed to reducing carbon emissions across their value chain by 25% by 2025.

Last year, Anheuser-Busch placed an order for up to 800 hydrogen-electric powered semi-trucks from Nikola, a pioneer in hydrogen-electric renewable technology. The partnership will help the brewer transition their entire long-haul dedicated fleet to zero-emission vehicles.

“As the first commercial delivery of freight with our hydrogen-electric truck, this is an exciting time for both Nikola and Anheuser-Busch. This milestone will become an example for all other OEM’s to move away from diesel trucks and towards zero emission vehicles,” said Trevor Milton, Nikola’s chief executive officer. “We look forward to helping the Anheuser-Busch team achieve their sustainability goals by leveraging Nikola’s zero-emissions technology. We are now preparing production vehicles for Anheuser-Busch and plan on delivering the trucks as fast as possible.”

To complement the Nikola partnership within their routes, Anheuser-Busch also announced a pilot project with BYD in California last month to improve the sustainability of their fleet at four Anheuser-Busch distribution facilities across southern California. The 21 BYD electric trucks as well as a 958.5 kW solar array to charge the vehicles will be implemented this year as the largest Class 8 electric truck deployment in North America.

“Partnering with Anheuser-Busch is a great opportunity to showcase BYD’s performance and reliability with an industry leader,” said Stella Li, President of BYD Motors. “Our dedication to innovation pairs nicely with Anheuser-Busch’s sustainability commitment.”

To further highlight the power of partnership, Anheuser-Busch is hosting more than 100 strategic suppliers and partners in St. Louis this week for their inaugural Eclipse Summit to discuss best practices and align on collective action in sustainability. Both Nikola and BYD will be participating in the summit to highlight their cutting-edge technology and the impact of their partnerships with the brewer.

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.

Mouser Electronics Builds Local Customer Service Center in the Philippines

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, Inc., the industry’s leading new product introduction distributor with the widest selection of semiconductors and electronic components, is pleased to announce a significant expansion of its customer service in Asia with the addition of a Customer Service Center in the Philippines.

The new customer service center located in Manila will serve local design engineers, buyers and hardware innovators in local languages and time zone, facilitating their design activities and helping them locate the newest products for their designs. Mouser now has 27 service locations worldwide, with 11 locations in the Asia Pacific region. A grand opening event was held today for the new branch opening.

Electronics exports from the Philippines have increased steadily in recent years, including record high growth in 2017, and demand within the country remains high. Semiconductors and electronics account for the largest contribution to the country’s manufacturing sector, with emerging focus on design and innovation.

“Mouser’s business in the Philippines has seen over 40 percent annual growth in the past two years,” said Mark Burr-Lonnon, Mouser’s Senior Vice President of Global Service & EMEA and APAC Business. “The exceptional growth is not only a result of strong regional demand for semiconductor and electronic components, but also proof of our successful strategy to provide fast delivery of the newest products and leading technologies. We see our local presence here as an important step in providing the best-in-class service that customers in the Philippines have come to expect.”

As the global authorized distributor with the newest semiconductors and electronic components, Mouser gives design engineers, buyers and innovators easy access to the newest electronic components and comprehensive design resources. The Services and Tools site, available on Mouser.com, makes it easy for customers to search for products, personalize their orders and access their previous purchases, helping to speed time-to-market. With real-time availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the site’s many resources offer unique capabilities that help customers in their design and creation processes.

Mouser has been offering products and services to engineers in the Philippines through its comprehensive website, Mouser.ph, as well as via phone, email and fax. The new office will better support existing customers while also enhancing Mouser’s overall marketing efforts to serve new customers in the area.

© 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.