Monthly Archives: February 2017

Lubrizol LifeSciences Announces New Compounding Capabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 David Mazor

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

Forest River Benefitting from Record Industry-Wide Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 David Mazor

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

Johns Manville to Benefit From Growth in Global Roofing Insulation Market

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

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

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

About Johns Manville

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

© 2017 David Mazor

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

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Opens London Office

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

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

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

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

© 2017 David Mazor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 David Mazor

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

Lubrizol Consolidates Skin Care Units Under Lipotec USA Banner

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Specialty chemicals company Lubrizol is consolidating its Active Organics and Lipotec skin care units, and giving them a new name, Lipotec USA.

In 2011, Lubrizol acquired Active Organics, a manufacturer and supplier of naturally-derived specialty ingredients including botanical extracts and natural performance ingredients for the personal care industry.

The following year, Lubrizol acquired Lipotec SA, a leader in the development, manufacturing and sale of personal care ingredients based on three core technologies: peptide-based active cosmetic ingredients, delivery systems and biotechnology products.

Lipotec USA, Inc. will be located at the current address of Active Organics, Inc. in Lewisville, Texas.

© 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.

Western Energy Imbalance Market Brings Significant Savings to Berkshire-Owned Utilities

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The western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM), which includes Berkshire Hathaway’s PacifiCorp and NV Energy, produced benefits of $28.27 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

NV Energy total benefits in Q4 2016 were $3.07 million. PacifiCorp saw benefits of $8.99 million, while the ISO realized $8.67 million.

The benefits since the real-time market was launched in November 2014 now total $142.62 million. The EIM also displaced about 10,011 metric tons of CO2 emissions from less clean resources by using surplus renewable energy from California that otherwise would have gone unused, according to the fourth quarter report.

“We continue to see growing energy savings to consumers in the West,” said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “We are pleased with the continued growth of the market and interest from prospective participants.”

The EIM uses state-of-art technology to automatically optimize the real-time grid and find low cost energy regardless of its location to serve consumers in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Portland General Electric will enter the EIM in October 2017 followed by Idaho Power in April 2018 and Seattle City Light in April 2019.

The Balancing Area of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the El Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENACE) have separately announced their intention to enter or explore entering the EIM.

Another benefit comes from lessening the amount of energy reserves utilities must carry as they can lean upon resources outside of their service area to serve their load at less cost.

© 2017 David Mazor

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

Lubrizol Gets Tax Abatement Extension to Expand Wickliffe Headquarters

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The Wickliffe, Ohio City Council has approved the extension of the 10-year, 50 percent tax abatement enterprise zone that was originally granted to Berkshire Hathaway’s Lubrizol Corporation in 2014. The extension means the tax abatement will now be available to Lubrizol until 2029.

The Council had given the mayor permission to extend the agreement at its December 16, 2016 meeting.

Lubrizol is planning to commence construction in 2018 on a 63,000-square-foot, single-story multi-purpose facility at its current Lakeland Boulevard headquarters. The extension will serve to connect two of its existing buildings.

Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway for $9 billion in cash in 2011, specialty-chemicals-maker Lubrizol owns and operates manufacturing facilities in 17 countries.

© 2017 David Mazor

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

BYD’s EV Sales Skyrocket in China

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With everyone in China celebrating the Lunar New Year, BYD Company must certainly be celebrating its spectacular EV car sales in 2016.

The Chinese battery and car manufacturer saw its 2016 EV sales rocket up a dramatic 70% over 2015.

For the year, BYD sold roughly 100,000 cars as compared to 59,000 in 2015.

BYD’s sales leader was its pure-electric E6 sedan, which sold over 20,000 units for the year. The 5-passenger car uses BYD’s iron-phosphate battery to achieve a range of roughly 186 miles (300km).

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

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

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

© 2017 David Mazor

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