Monthly Archives: August 2018

BYD Selected as a Supplier for Georgia’s Statewide Contracts for Mass Transit

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BYD has been successfully selected as one of the suppliers for the State of Georgia’s Statewide Contracts for Public Mass Transit & Transportation Vehicles, specifically for battery-electric buses.

The resulting statewide contract will be a “convenience” source for all State of Georgia governmental entities, including but not limited to state offices, agencies, departments, boards, bureaus, commissioners, institutions, colleges, universities, as well as local government, municipalities, cities, townships, counties and other political subdivisions of the State of Georgia.

The statewide contract will also be available to other Governmental entities outside of the State of Georgia.

By leveraging the state’s purchasing power, local governments and transit agencies can benefit from the convenience and competitive pricing of these pre-established contracts. Under the purchasing contract, entities can buy BYD:

• Coaches – the 23-foot C6M, the 35-foot C8M, the 40-foot C9M, and the 45-foot C10M;
• Buses – the 30-foot K7M, the 35-foot K9S, the 40-foot K9M, and the 60-foot K11M.

In addition, BYD has been successfully selected as one of the suppliers for the City of Atlanta’s purchasing contract for electric vehicles, which includes battery-electric heavy duty trucks, support/taxi fleet vehicles, and buses. Departments from the City of Atlanta will be able to purchase from this contract, which will ensure competitive pricing and quicker deployment of the zero-emission battery-electric vehicles.

Furthermore, outside agencies will be able to purchase vehicles under a co-operative agreement with the City. Vehicles in this agreement include the following:

• Buses – 30-foot K7M, 35-foot K9S, 40-foot K9M, 60-foot K11M;
• Coaches – 23-foot C6M, 35-foot C8M, 40-foot C9M;
• Trucks/Vans – 5F (Class 5), 6F (Class 6), 6D (Class 6) Step Van;
• Support and Taxi Fleet – e6 Five-Door Sedan

BYD’s medium and heavy duty all-electric vehicles will help Atlanta achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20% from 2009 levels by 2020 and by 40% by 2030.

“BYD is excited to be working with customers in Georgia and we look forward to growing our presence in the state and improving the air quality for Georgians, “stated Bobby Hill, Vice President of North America, BYD Coach and Bus.

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.

© 2018 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 to Benefit from Growth of Alkaline Battery Market

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The trusty alkaline battery will continue to play a major role in the world’s battery needs according to a report released by KD Market Insights, “Alkaline Battery Market.”

Berkshire Hathaway’s Duracell, and other battery manufacturers, including Panasonic, Toshiba, Energizer Holdings, Zhongyin (Ningbo) Battery Co.Ltd., GPB, International Limited, Spectrum Brands Holding, Sony, Samsung, and Fujitsu should see a CAGR of 1.3% during 2018-2023.

According to the report, the market is anticipated to reach USD 8,468.7 Million by the end of 2023 from USD 7,946.6 Million in 2017.

Benefits and advantages cited for the alkaline battery include higher energy density, easy availability and lower cost will power the growth of alkaline battery market.

Just a few decades ago, flashlights and toys were the primary uses of disposable batteries, but today, alkaline batteries are used in a host of applications, including everything from wireless mice to medical devices.

© 2018 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.

Chattanooga Now Rolling With BYD Electric Buses

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BYD has announced that the Chattanooga Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) has taken delivery of their first three BYD K9 electric buses this week.

“We’re excited about receiving all three vehicles, and getting them out on the streets and tested,” said Lisa Maragnano, CARTA Executive Director. “We’re pleased about the enhanced service CARTA will to provide to the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County through our partnership with BYD and Momentum Dynamics. Our new electric buses charge fast, efficiently and run emissions free all day. We look forward to the expansion of our electric vehicle fleet.”

As an early adopter of electric vehicle technology, CARTA has paved the way for a cleaner, smarter and more sustainable future in the transportation industry.

Earlier this year they received a “Smart City” award for their innovative electric vehicle charging and car share project. The integration of more electric buses will help CARTA achieve their goal of having a zero-emissions fleet.

Chattanooga is aggressively pursuing non-traditional transportation planning and infrastructure.

Momentum Dynamics developed a 200-kilowatt wireless charging system to support zero-emission transit buses in Chattanooga. The system automatically charges as passengers load and unload.

“We thrilled to partner with such a forward-thinking transit agency as CARTA. We believe our zero-emission buses are a perfect fit for their plans to use clean technology vehicles to serve their customers and help keep their region’s air clean,” said Bobby Hill, Vice President of BYD North America, Coach and Bus.

BYD North America also recently announced its joint venture with Generate Capital, Inc., a leading financier, owner, and operator of distributed infrastructure, to launch the first electric bus leasing program of its kind in the United States. The firm is also the first electric bus manufacturer with a unionized workforce at its cutting-edge facility of more than 800 employees in Lancaster, California.

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.

© 2018 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.

Kraft Heinz Putting £20 Million into UK Facility

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Kraft Heinz is putting £20 million into its production facility in Kitts Green near Wigan, UK.

According to Kraft Heinz, the investment expands the production capacity for its canned good products, including soups, baked beans, spaghetti, and its Snap Pots microwavable, quick-serve products.

The upgraded facility adds a high-speed production line capable of filling 1,200 cans with beans or soup a minute, and a new triple-pack can packaging line and a high-speed weigh filling line.

The Kitts Green site is already one of the largest canned food production facilities in Europe, and produces 383,000 tons of products every year even before the expansion.

© 2018 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 Opens New Logistics Center

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BNSF Railway has opened its newest logistics center in Moore, Okla., near Oklahoma City.

Logistics Center Oklahoma City is located within the city limits of Oklahoma City and Moore and is designed to accommodate manifest and unit train customers in addition to a site for storage.

“Logistics centers are just one way BNSF offers more choices, flexibility and efficiency for new, potential and existing customers,” said Colby Tanner, assistant vice president, economic development. “Logistics Center Oklahoma City provides unrivaled access to the state’s largest population center and one of our nation’s most prominent energy centers.”

The 195-acre site is located due east of BNSF’s Flynn Yard – an ideal location for both rail and highway access. A double-ended industry lead track will connect to the main line to serve customers at this location. Unit trains can arrive from either direction and without impeding access to manifest sites. All customers’ sites at Logistics Center Oklahoma City are customizable to fit their needs.

BNSF Logistics Centers focus on offering direct rail service in multi-customer, multi-commodity business parks. BNSF invests directly in the development of the facility to create sites in under-served, strategic, end-user markets. These facilities can service carload, unit train customers, or both.

© 2018 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.

McLane Expands Florida Distribution Center

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Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Company is constructing roughly 300,000-square-foot addition to its distribution center in Northwest Ocala, Florida.

McLane Company is reportedly spending more than $26.5 million to enlarge the facility.

McLane will add 125 new jobs in Ocala when the expansion is completed.

McLane is one of the largest supply chain services leaders, providing grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and chain restaurants throughout the United States. McLane, through McLane Grocery and McLane Foodservice, operates over 80 distribution centers across the U.S. and one of the nation’s largest private fleets. The company buys, sells and delivers more than 50,000 different consumer products to nearly 110,000 locations across the U.S. In addition, McLane provides alcoholic beverage distribution through its wholly owned subsidiary, Empire Distributors, Inc.

© 2018 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 Secures Financing for Multifamily Property in Salt Lake City

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Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Leucadia National Corporation, has announced the recent financing of Egate Apartments, a garden-style multifamily property in Salt Lake City. Senior Managing Director Kevin Kozminske of the St. Louis office and Managing Director Art Tuverson of the San Clemente, California office secured the 35-year permanent refinancing on behalf of Utah-based EGate Partners LLC. The deal closed July 26.

The loan, secured through the HUD FHA 223(F) program, features a fixed interest rate at 3.40 percent.

“We are excited to get Egate Apartments closed,” said Kozminske. “It was an excellent transaction for HUD providing work force housing in the market.”

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

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

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

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

© 2018 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.

3G Sells Some of Its Kraft Heinz Shares

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As of the end of the second quarter, Warren Buffett still appears to be confident in Kraft Heinz, but not so 3G Capital, which partnered with Berkshire Hathaway in 2015 to merge Heinz with Kraft.

3G sold 20.6 million shares of its stake in Kraft Heinz on Tuesday, August 7, at $59.85 per share

3G still owns 270.1 million shares, second only to Berkshire Hathaway’s
325,634,818 shares.

Down from Kraft Heinz’s 52-wk high of $85.16, the stock has recently been in the doldrums, trading just below $60.

3G’s 7% reduction in its Kraft Heinz stake comes as consumers have become increasingly indifferent to many of the brands that were popular over the last fifty years.

In April, at the 2018 Milken Institute Global Conference, 3G’s Jorge Paulo Lemann said, “I’m a terrified dinosaur,” when referring to the disruption for legacy brands that comes from changing consumer tastes.

Kraft Heinz has been trying to add new products to its familiar brands that include Classico, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Ore-Ida, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters, Plasmon, Quero, Smart Ones and Velveeta.

In May 2018, the company announced that its new Springboard Incubator Program would launch five disruptive brands that included antioxidant lemonades, avocado-based sauces, egg-white chips, fermented kraut, and South-African biltong & droëwors.

© 2018 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 Electric Buses Coming to Montreal

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BYD Canada has received orders for nine long range, zero emission, battery-electric buses.

The orders came the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL).
RTL will receive five 30-foot buses and STM will receive an order of four of the same model.

The buses will make an immediate improvement to air quality and noise levels in both cities. These buses alone will deliver a reduction in carbon emissions of more than 600 metric tons each year. This will mean a total reduction of 7200 tons over the operating life of the vehicles.

“Long range Electric Battery buses make sense in Quebec,” said BYD Canada’s Vice President Ted Dowling. “We are using Hydro Quebec’s clean electricity to charge our buses overnight. This is the best use of surplus power and will save STM and RTL over $100,000 a year in diesel costs.”

The order from Longueuil was BYD Canada’s first order of heavy duty electric buses in Quebec. Together with STM’s order in Montreal this is the beginning of a large transit transformation to zero emission vehicles in the Province.

“The buses are the first of what we hope will become an important part of the fleets in both communities and others in Quebec,” said Dowling. “This would not have happened without the climate change leadership shown by Mayors Valerie Plante and Sylvie Parent, in Montreal and Longueuil, along with the support of their transit agency leaders in STM and RTL.”

The order puts STM and RTL ahead of the Federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s new carbon pollution regulations for heavy-duty vehicles starting in 2020.

BYD is the world leader in zero emission buses. BYD Canada was the pioneer in Canada and is now the market leader. In addition to this ground-breaking order in Quebec, BYD Canada has buses on order or in operation in Toronto, Victoria, and St. Albert and Grand Prairie in Alberta.

There are over 35,000 BYD electric buses currently in service worldwide.

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.

© 2018 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.

Rebhan & Associates Joins Berkshire’s Real Living Real Estate Brand

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Real Living Real Estate, one of the nation’s leading real estate franchisors and a member of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, today announced that Rebhan & Associates has joined the network and is operating as Real Living Carolinas Real Estate.

Real Living Real Estate is a network brand of HSF Affiliates LLC, whose parent company is HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.

Rebhan & Associates remains independently owned and operated by real estate veterans James and Kathleen Rebhan and serves buyers and sellers in the counties of Mecklenburg, Union, Iredell, Gaston, Cabarrus, Lancaster and York.

Kathleen Rebhan said joining the Real Living brokerage network was a natural choice as both organizations share a common philosophy focused on the needs of clients. “Real Living is the most recognized and highest-rated brand among the only group that counts – consumers,” she said. “As a brokerage, we understand that leveraging the Real Living brand name, as well as the support of its parent companies, would position the company competitively in the Charlotte market.”

In 2017, Real Living network brokers and agents earned an unprecedented 98% customer satisfaction rating for 2017, according to independent ratings service Quality Service Certification, Inc. (QSC).

Jim Rebhan added that the brand will appeal to buyers throughout the bustling Charlotte area. “We believe that people moving to the Carolinas will place more value on a brand that connects with clients and the reasons they move,” he said. “Charlotte is a world-class leader in financial services and other industries, and an incomparable hub of opportunity for families and individuals looking to call the region home.”

Rebhan added that the collaborative efforts provided by Real Living will allow Real Living Carolinas Real Estate agents to provide an even higher level of service to clients while encouraging new agents to join the firm. With their network membership, the brokerage also gains access to Real Living’s customized tools and resources.

“Real Living Carolinas Real Estate brings a unique consumer-centric approach that strongly aligns with the Real Living brand,” said Allan Dalton, chief operating officer of Real Living Real Estate. “The brokerage accepts that as lifestyle advisors they’re doing more than marketing homes, but instead marketing overall lifestyles. To many people in the region, and particularly Charlotte, the Carolinas represent where real living begins.”

Real Living Carolinas Real Estate is highly specialized in residential and commercial real estate, relocation services, property management, REO and short-sale transactions. The company also boasts a Senior Preferred Services Division and is recognized as a certified diversity supplier for real estate services for the Charlotte metropolitan area.

Kathleen Rebhan believes the brand will have particular appeal among the company’s home-selling clients. “A major reason why we joined Real Living has to do with their innovative and client-centric approach to marketing homes, specifically through the Real Living Customized Home Marketing SystemSM. The system and our agents focus on personalizing a plan, not only for each individual property, but also how it celebrates and promotes the overall lifestyle of each home for sale. This is a true departure from our industry’s one-size-fits-all approach to home marketing,” she said.

The full-service brokerage is proud to be nationally certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise.

© 2018 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.