Monthly Archives: January 2019

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty of Key West Acquires Market Leading Brokerage in Marathon & Lower Florida Keys

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty has acquired a Middle Keys brokerage formerly operated as Christie’s-affiliated American Caribbean Real Estate of the Middle & Lower Keys.

The latter now operates as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Keys Real Estate.

Through the union, Knight & Gardner Realty gains a market-leading brokerage, 24 seasoned agents and access to the vibrant Lower and Middle Keys markets. Ginger Henderson, 35-year owner of the brokerage operating as American Caribbean Real Estate of the Middle & Lower Keys, will remain with Keys Real Estate as an agent and mentor to the group.

“We are thrilled to join forces with one of the most respected brokerages in the Florida Keys,” said Will Langley, president of Knight & Gardner Realty and Keys Real Estate. “Ginger and her team are highly regarded in the region for their skill, integrity and expertise in resort and high-end property. We’re proud they will represent our growing brokerage family and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.”

Henderson, who wanted to focus more on her sizeable book of business in the region, sought an acquisition that would bring her agents a respected brand and suite of tools and resources to help them grow their businesses.

“I spoke to many suitors,” she explained. “For me, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty was the obvious choice. The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand carries the name of one of the world’s most trusted and respected corporations, and Knight & Gardner Realty is the top-rated brokerage in the Florida Keys. Together, we’ll sell a lot of real estate and satisfy many more clients.”

With their network membership, Keys Real Estate agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. The network also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded the merger. “The combination of Knight & Gardner Realty and Keys Real Estate will dominate the Florida Keys for years to come,” he said. “We’re eager to support this growing brokerage family every step of the way.”

© 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.

Intero Opens Office in Reno, Nevada

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire’s HomeServices of America, Inc., has opened its newest location in Reno, Nevada.

Situated about five miles from Downtown, the new Reno office, located at 5470 Kietzke Lane, is owned and operated by the motivated and detail-oriented Denise Hallerbach.

This is Denise’s second stint with Intero, having had a franchise operation from 2014 to 2016.

Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Stanford University, and a Master of Arts Degree in Communicative Disorders from University of the Pacific. Prior to her 9-year career in real estate, she treated stroke and head-injured patients as a medical Speech-Language Pathologist. While attending Stanford, she was a member of the Stanford Women’s Volleyball Team, winning 2 NCAA National Championships with her teammates.

“We are thrilled to be back,” said Denise Hallerbach, Intero Reno Broker & Owner. “Bringing Intero back to the Greater Reno area is not only exciting for us, but also benefits our community as they experience the highest level of service coupled with the exceptional brand Intero embodies.”

Joining Denise in the new Reno location is Robert Skinner, a 14-year veteran of the residential and commercial real industry. Robert has a wealth of knowledge and experience in sales, leasing and real estate development. He earned a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation in 2007 and is an expert in the commercial and the investment real estate industry.

“The entire Intero Family is excited to have Denise and Robert lay the foundation for the Intero Reno office,” said Tom Tognoli, Intero President & Chief Executive Officer. “We know with their work ethic, connections and drive, success will be a foregone conclusion.”

© 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.

BYD on a Roll with 50,000 Electric Buses

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, has hit a remarkable figure in its quest to get the world of buses to change from the soot-belching, diesel polluters of yore, to a vehicle that’s on the forefront of environmentally sound transportation.

BYD reached has a new milestone with the completion of its 50,000th battery-electric bus.

The company notes that according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s research, operating 50,000 electric buses is equivalent to taking 1.35 million cars off the road and eliminating 84.5 million tons of C02 over the vehicles’ 12-year lifespan.

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.

NetJets Reaches Agreement with Pilots Union

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

After years of pitched battles with its unions, NetJets is finding negotiations to be less acrimonious this time around.

NetJets, the worldwide leader in private aviation, has reached an agreement with its pilot union, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) that gives all crewmembers the opportunity to earn additional compensation while enhancing quality of life on tour.

NetJets elected to initiate mid-term bargaining to improve compensation for long-term and new hire pilots, leading to the development of a new program that expressly recognizes the exceptional efforts its pilots put forth on a daily basis.

NetJets Chairman and CEO Adam Johnson and NJASAP President Pedro Leroux signed the 2018 Tentative Agreement late yesterday afternoon, following several months of collaboration between the parties that paved the way for an ambitious six-week negotiation.

The 2,500-member pilot group ratified the measure in late December with 81-plus percent voting in favor of the package of amendments that extends the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement an additional three years through 2026.

Among other enhancements, the newly ratified Flight & Duty Pay Program (FDPP) introduces new compensation elements, ensuring NetJets continues to be the industry leader in pilot compensation and work rules; the FDPP benefits both the pilot group and propels the business and brand forward.

“Ratification of the 2018 Tentative Agreement represents countless hours of hard work from both the NetJets team and NJASAP as we worked toward a common goal that is mutually beneficial and built on a foundation of trust and transparency,” Johnson said. “In the spirit of true collaboration, the agreement has our pilots’ best interests in mind and maintains NetJets’s position as the industry leader in pilot relations. We believe this agreement and our relationship with our crewmembers are truly unique in our industry.”

Added Leroux, “The NJASAP Executive Board is exceedingly pleased with the outcome of this negotiation – an ambitious undertaking characterized by honesty, goodwill and a genuine commitment to continuing collaboration. It is my privilege to recognize the outstanding efforts of leaders and representatives from both NetJets and NJASAP and to express my sincere appreciation to the pilot group for its thoughtful review and ratification of this ground-breaking agreement.”

© 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.

Pilot Flying J Reopens Travel Center in Missouri

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Pilot Flying J reopened the Flying J Travel Center in Matthews, Missouri in mid-January, following the completion of a ground-up rebuild.

The travel center features an elevated guest experience and full amenities for area residents and the traveling public, while bringing approximately 30 local jobs and other economic benefits back to the community.

“We’re thrilled to return to serve the Matthews community and contribute to the local economy with our newly rebuilt travel center,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “Our goal at Pilot Flying J is to connect people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Both Matthews residents and those traveling through the New Madrid County area will again be able to enjoy the convenience and amenities of this Flying J Travel Center.”

This Flying J Travel Center offers many amenities, including:

• 12 gasoline fueling positions, 3 RV lanes and 12 diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling
• PJ Fresh pizza and grab-and-go food offerings prepared on site daily, including salads, sandwiches, burgers, fruit cups and an array of hot and cold snacks
• Pilot’s Best Gourmet Coffees, including bean-to-cup selections and cold brew
• Driver’s lounge
• Public Laundry
• Western Union
• CAT Scale
• Upgraded amenities and layout
• Modern interior finishes and exterior lighting
• Everyday products for quick shopping needs

The newly built facility at 703 State Highway 80 is one of Pilot Flying J’s 22 locations in Missouri, including travel centers and dealers and it is expected to contribute $2.9 million annually in state and local tax revenues.

Berkshire Hathaway and Pilot Flying J

In October 2017, Berkshire Hathaway made a $2.76 billion investment in Pilot Travel Centers. Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire will become the majority owner in five years.

© 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 HomeServices Expands into Northern Italy

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has expanded its franchise network into Northern Italy with the signing of Maggi Group Real Estate, a respected residential and commercial real estate operator serving greater Milan and the Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy and Veneto regions.

The company will operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maggi Properties starting late February.

Maggi Properties, with a distinguished track record dating back to 1981, will be Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ third global franchisee following the 2018 appointments of Rubina Real Estate of Berlin and London-based Kay & Co.

The agency plans to build its market share across Northern Italy and expand into Rome within two years.

“We are excited to enter the greater Milan market with a fine company such as Maggi Properties,” said Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Milan has been among our top priorities as Italy’s financial hub and Europe’s third-largest economy. Maggi Properties is a regional leader that is highly regarded for its residential and commercial operations as well as its real estate advisory services for financial institutions and public authorities. As important, the agency’s core values are similar to our own focusing on trust, integrity and stability.”

Maggi Properties will remain independently owned and operated by founder and CEO Cesare Maggi, who said he’s eager to grow his brokerage as a franchisee of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “We are proud to represent the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand in Milan and throughout Northern Italy,” said Maggi. “We believe the brand will be embraced by local and international clients seeking real estate guidance. Also, the brand will be sought out by American clients looking for property in Milan, Lake Como and the Tuscany region.”

Marcus Benussi, agency advisor and head of foreign operations, said the franchise relationship will help Maggi Properties grow and recruit more skilled agents. “Timing is good for our brand transition, as the real estate market in greater Milan continues to strengthen and attract more buyers from abroad. The trusted Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand brings fresh air to our markets and new opportunities for top real estate professionals. We expect to grow our business in all areas, particularly in high-end and luxury real estate. Agents who want to grow their business should consider Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maggi Properties.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices continues as one of America’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage networks with nearly 50,000 agents and 1,400+ offices named to the brand since its launch in September 2013. With its network membership Maggi Properties will gain access to the brand’s Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. The brand also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

“Our new alliance gives us access to a network of leading American, German and English real estate agencies and an active referral system,” said Benussi. “This means our clients’ listings will be displayed before a significantly larger international audience, and our fellow Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchisees will have a most capable brokerage to which they may refer clients seeking properties in Northern Italy. It’s a new era for our company and we couldn’t be more excited for the future.”

© 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 Expands into Transactional Liability Insurance in UK & Europe

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) is expanding its North American Transactional Liability Insurance business into the UK and Europe and has appointed Ed Martin as Head of Transactional Liability, UK and Europe.

“As the need for solutions for the risks and uncertainties in corporate transactions continues to grow, BHSI is pleased to bring to market the local expertise, financial strength, and capacity that will enable companies in the UK and throughout Europe to respond, quickly and strategically, to the exposures of mergers, acquisitions and other transactions,” said Robert Underhill, Senior Vice President, Head of Transactional Liability, BHSI. “Ed is a stellar addition to our expanding Transactional Liability team worldwide.”

“Our capabilities in the UK, throughout Europe and around the world continue to expand to help our customers respond to pressing risks,” said Chris Colahan, Head of UK and Europe, BHSI. “This latest expansion follows the well set pattern of BHSI’s growth: We grow where and when we can offer outstanding expertise and provide meaningful long-term solutions, backed by our stable capacity and financial strength.”

BHSI will provide Warranty and Indemnity, Tax, and Contingent Liability Insurance in the UK and throughout Europe. The company also provides Representations & Warranties, Contingent Liability, and Class Action Settlement Insurance in the U.S. and Canada.

Martin joins BHSI from global legacy and run-off specialist Enstar Group Limited. At Enstar, Ed was the lead in-house M&A lawyer working alongside Enstar’s dedicated M&A team. Prior to joining Enstar, Ed was Of Counsel at Norton Rose (now Norton Rose Fulbright) with their London Corporate and Regulatory Insurance team. Ed qualified as a lawyer in England and Wales in 2000.

Martin will be based in BHSI’s office in London.

© 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.

BNSF Starts 2019 With Dramatic Increase in Petroleum Shipments

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BNSF Railway has started 2019 with positive overall numbers as compared to 2018 due to a huge increase in petroleum shipments.

Combined intermodal and carloads numbers are up 2.82% in the aggregate.

Of particular note are much higher petroleum shipments, which as of the week ending January 12, 2019, are up a whopping 43.82% over the same period last year.

Also, showing strong numbers are metals shipments, which are up 29.90%, and shipments of stone, clay and glass are up 22.06%.

Noteworthy on the downside are coal shipments, which are -1.16% and lumber shipments are down -17.37%.

Total shipments excluding intermodal are up a robust 4.98%

2018 was a strong year for BNSF, with the combined carloads including intermodal up 4.03% over 2017, and 2019 is starting off even better.

© 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.

Pilot Flying J Opens Pilot Travel Center in Arlington, Washington

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Pilot Flying J has opened new a Pilot Travel Center in Arlington, Washington.

The travel center features full amenities for area residents and the traveling public, while adding approximately 70 local jobs and other economic benefits to the community.

“We’re thrilled to serve the Arlington community and contribute to the local economy with our new travel center,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “Our goal at Pilot Flying J is to connect people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Both Arlington residents and those traveling through the Snohomish County area will soon be able to enjoy the convenience and amenities of this Pilot Travel Center.”

This Pilot Travel Center offers many amenities, including:

• 12 gasoline fueling positions and seven diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling
• PJ Fresh pizza and grab-and-go food offerings prepared on site daily, including salads, sandwiches, burgers, fruit cups and an array of hot and cold snacks
• Pilot’s Best Gourmet Coffees, including bean-to-cup selections and cold brew
• Arby’s with a drive-thru
• Cinnabon
• Western Union
• CAT Scale
• Outdoor seating
• Everyday products for quick shopping needs

The new facility at 2430 State Route 530 NE will be Pilot Flying J’s 8th location in Washington, including travel centers, Pilot Express and dealers and it is expected to contribute $5.1 million annually in state and local tax revenues.

In October 2017, Berkshire Hathaway made a $2.76 billion investment in Pilot Travel Centers. Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire will become the majority owner in five years.

© 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 Adds Property Construction in UK & Ireland

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) announced today that it is expanding into the Property Construction insurance market in the UK and Ireland and has appointed Simeon Seamer to lead the effort as Head of Property Construction, UK and Ireland.

“With the current uncertainty surrounding available capacity for the construction industry in London, BHSI is pleased to provide a stable, reliable solution. We enter the property construction market with substantial capacity backed by stellar financial strength, BHSI’s long-view market commitment, and the expertise of Simeon to lead our growing team,” said Chris Colahan, Head of UK and Europe, BHSI.

In addition to property construction, BHSI in the UK and Ireland now offers a wide range of insurance products for the construction industry including CAR, liability and professional indemnity coverages.

Simeon comes to BHSI after nearly two decades in the construction insurance and reinsurance industry, having led underwriting for some of the largest infrastructure projects in the U.S. and Europe. He was most recently EMEA Head of Construction & Senior Underwriter at SCOR Global P&C. Prior to that he was Senior Construction Underwriter at Zurich Global Corporate UK. He began his insurance career as a London Market broker specializing in construction.

BHSI’s construction team for the UK and Ireland also includes James Emson, VP of Casualty, who joins BHSI from QBE in Hong Kong, and Farhad Dabestani, Senior Underwriter, Professional Indemnity, who comes to BHSI from AXA XL.

© 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.