Monthly Archives: March 2019

Anna, Texas Real Estate Veteran Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, today announced local real estate veteran Kimberly Ann Christensen has formed a brokerage and joined the network in Ana, Texas.

The company operates as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Extra Mile Realty symbolizing the effort Christensen and her agents commit to clients and the real estate process.

Christensen opens shop with immense knowledge of the Anna real estate market. She was raised in the city and owned and operated brokerages there. She is also a national-class real estate trainer with a knack for teaching motivated newcomers to the business. Still, the magic is in her familiarity of Anna, her hometown. “There isn’t a house in Anna I’m not aware of,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve been in nearly every one of the original homes because I’ve lived here all my life.”

Extra Mile Realty unites with one of America’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage networks, which now counts nearly 50,000 agents and 1,450+ offices in just over five years as a brand, including global expansion to Berlin, Germany; and London, England.

Christensen and her team now have access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ active referral and relocation networks, and its abundant resources and services. That includes the Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. In addition, the network provides global listing syndication, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

“As an independent broker, I couldn’t build or buy what I now offer to my agents and other local real estate professionals,” she said. “Of course, we also have the benefit of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and its wonderful reputation. The network’s namesake is Berkshire Hathaway itself, and it’s built on Berkshire Hathaway’s core values of Trust, Integrity, Stability and Longevity. The network is an ideal match for our new company and we’re proud and excited to represent Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in greater Anna and beyond.”

Christensen estimates she will have 30 real estate professionals representing Extra Mile Realty by year end, and over the next few years, plans to open offices in neighboring Van Alstyne and Melissa. She said she will hire local top performers yet, playing to her strengths, she will also focus on a new generation of real estate achievers.
“I would rather train my own superstars of tomorrow than hire someone else’s superstars,” she explained. “This helps me shape corporate culture, which is so important to our long-term success. I intend on having a good mix of experience and enthusiasm in a fully supportive, team environment. I envision a team in which everyone generates at least $3 million in sales volume annually.”

That team will always have lofty aspirations, Christensen added. “We want to be consumers’ first choice for premium service and local expertise,” she said. “There is no reason why we can’t achieve a 50% share of the Anna market.”

Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, welcomed the brokerage. “Kimberly is so well respected in Anna as a real estate professional and servant to the community and its causes,” Blefari said. “She is an unofficial ambassador to greater Anna and loves the area and its people. Such joy will keep Extra Mile Realty vibrant and growing for years to come.”

© 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.

HomeServices of America is US’s #1 Largest Real Estate Company

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Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America keeps reaching new milestones in its growth, and today has announced that it is the US’s largest residential real estate company based on transaction sides, according to the REAL Trends 500 report.

In 2018, the company’s sales associates closed 346,629 residential transactions reflecting a 5.6% increase over 2017. The REAL Trends ranking is based on 2018 closed transaction sides for the country’s top-500 brokerages.

“2018 was a year of incredible growth and strategic expansion and we couldn’t be more proud that we have achieved this No. 1 industry ranking,” said Ron Peltier, executive chairman of HomeServices. “This milestone is a testament to the commitment and hard work of thousands of employees and tens of thousands of talented agents and sales managers across HomeServices who deliver an exceptional real estate experience to their buyers and sellers.”

“This is a turning point in our history and we congratulate our incredible employees and agents who work tirelessly to help their clients achieve the American dream of home ownership,” added Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices. “This achievement is a culmination of years of hard work and while we are celebrating this moment, we are not resting on our laurels. HomeServices is dedicated to continued growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions and we are committed to modernizing the home-transaction experience for buyers and sellers and the process by which our agents serve them.”

Headquartered in Minneapolis, HomeServices has nearly 44,000 real estate professionals operating in nearly 900 offices across 30 states and the District of Columbia. In 2018, the company’s sales associates facilitated nearly $136 billion in residential real estate sales, nearly 347,000 home-sale transactions, and nearly 323,000 mortgage, insurance, title, and escrow transactions.

© 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.

McLane and Popeyes End Restaurant Distribution Deal

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Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Company, Inc., a leading supply chain services company providing grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions, has announced that its McLane Foodservice and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen have mutually agreed to end their restaurant distribution relationship, effective July 2019.

McLane has been supplying the southern California, Arizona and southern Nevada geographies for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants. While both entities appreciate their long-term relationship, each company believes this move will best serve its financial and operational needs in these geographic markets.

Despite this aspect of their relationship coming to an end, McLane will continue to play a part in Popeyes’s supply chain. KINEXO, a subsidiary of McLane that provides innovative supply chain solutions to respected brands in the foodservice industry, will continue to serve as Popeyes’s exclusive redistribution partner nationwide for numerous items from multiple suppliers used or sold in their restaurant outlets.

Additionally, McLane will continue to serve as a primary distributor to Burger King, which along with Popeyes, is owned by Restaurant Brands International.

One of Warren Buffett’s best deals in recent years was his 2014 financing of Burger King’s acquisition of Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons, which was renamed Restaurant Brands International.

The deal was financed by Berkshire Hathaway, and Berkshire’s role gave the conglomerate ownership and control over 4.18% of the outstanding Common Shares and 14.37% of the total number of votes attached to all outstanding voting shares of the newly created company.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen became a part of Restaurant Brands in 2017, when it was acquired for $1.8 billion.

© 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 Pure Electric Buses Now Rolling in Ecuador

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BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, has delivered twenty of its pure electric buses to the city of Guayaquil.

The buses will be operated by private bus operator Saucinc.

The port city, which is known as “the Gateway to the Galapagos,” is swapping its entire fleet of diesel transit buses for pure-electric buses.

The move comes after a five month pilot program proved the viability of the buses. The test bus ran an average of 250 kilometers per day.

BYD’s K9 buses feature air conditioning and Wi-Fi, and will have a dramatic impact on air pollution and fuel costs.

The buses are projected to reduce 12.8 tons of CO2 and 2.9 million gallons of diesel annually.

In addition to the buses, the city already has a fleet of BYD ev taxis in service.

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.

Record Flooding Impacting BNSF’s Midwest Service

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BNSF Railway has been significantly impacted by the record flooding that has reduced or stopped service in portions of Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.

BNSF teams remain focused on restoring service and states that several subdivisions, either partially or in full, remain out of service due to high water levels, flood-related damage to infrastructure or both.

Water levels have dropped in some locations, and we expect to have service restored on our Sioux City Subdivision, which runs between Sioux City, Iowa and Ashland, Nebraska, this past weekend.

With coordination through a 24-hour command center in Lincoln, Nebraska, BNSF is moving multiple belt trains full of ballast to washed out locations throughout the day and night.

Crews have made considerable progress with track repairs, including rail and tie replacement, in those locations where flood waters have receded.

Some locations in the area, however, will require more extensive repair work before restoration of service is possible.

Damage to the two rail bridges that cross over the Platte River near La Platte, Nebraska, was extensive.

© 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 Expanding in the Carmel and Monterey County Markets

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Intero is expanding its operations in California’s Carmel and Monterey County markets.

The company has announced the hiring of J.R. Rouse as the Vice President and Managing Officer of the Monterey Peninsula operation.

Intero is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America.

J.R., a 20-year real estate veteran, moved to California in 1989, and spent the next ten years in Silicon Valley at iconic technology brands Silicon Graphics and Cybersource. He started his real estate career on the Monterey Peninsula in 2000 when he moved to Pacific Grove. Six years later, he opened his own real estate brokerage, J.R. Rouse Real Estate, and was quickly honored by the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce as Entrepreneur of the Year. He managed his firm until he joined Sotheby’s International Realty in January of 2014.

During his successful career, J.R. has taken on many leadership roles at various local and state real estate organizations. He served on the Monterey County Board of Realtors in a variety of positions including Director (2002), Secretary/Treasurer (2003), President Elect (2004), and President (2005). During 2007 and 2008, J.R. served as a director of MLSListings Inc., and from 2008 to 2011, he served on the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee for the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), acting as the vice-chair in his final year.

“I am so excited about being with a company that has alignment with my own personal and professional philosophies,” said J.R. Rouse, Intero Vice President and Managing Officer. “We will combine my professional connections and business drive with Intero’s marketing and operational support and we will build something very special on the Monterey Peninsula.”

The first step in the strategic plan to make Intero the number one brokerage on the Monterey Peninsula was to increase the size and location of the Carmel operation. This is in the works and soon Intero Carmel will move from its current petite location on Lincoln between 5th and 6th to its large and open office at 3 NE Ocean Avenue and San Carlos.

“We are beyond thrilled to have J.R. join our leadership team running our Monterey Peninsula operation,” said Tom Tognoli, Intero President & Chief Executive Officer. “He brings a level of enthusiasm and passion that is unprecedented in our industry.”

Joining J.R. in his move to Intero is Jan Pratt. Jan has been J.R.’s Assistant and Broker Associate for more than 13 years and is an integral part of his past success.

© 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 Rolls Out Virtual Maintenance System for Fleets

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Pilot Flying J, the largest travel center network in North America, has announced the launch of its new virtual maintenance system, Fleet Center, as part of the company’s Truck Care service platform.

Available in April, Pilot Flying J’s Fleet Center allows Truck Care technicians to focus on providing the best and fastest service to get drivers back on the road. The portal provides fleets 24/7, real-time visibility and flexibility to manage their equipment – reducing downtime, increasing speed of service and improving account management for fleets and professional drivers.

“With the launch of Fleet Center, we are eager to dramatically change how fleets do business with our truck care service,” said Dave Latimer, vice president of shop strategies and operations for Pilot Flying J Truck Care. “By providing a centralized portal, Fleet Center will make it easier and faster for fleets to manage the service of their trucks. Our goal is to remove the stress and complexity of managing fleet service and get drivers back on the road as quickly as possible by providing our customers a window into their Truck Care account at the touch of a button.”

The virtual maintenance system will provide fleets with access to time-saving features such as:

• Service management: no phone calls, just easy business when it comes to scheduling services, generating and authorizing work orders, and receiving detailed cost of repair estimates.
• Real-time notifications: receive immediate status updates for en-route, on-site and roll times
• Live chat: users can live chat with Truck Care representatives for quick customer service needs
• Service records: fleets will benefit from reduced paperwork and improved accuracy of records with full access to service history and transaction details

Rolled out in 2017, Pilot Flying J Truck Care continues to grow with 24 service centers and more than 135 roadside assistance vehicles in 36 states to provide professional drivers with maintenance needs on and off the interstate. With state-of-the-art facilities and certified technicians available 24-hours-a-day, Pilot Flying J Truck Care is dedicated to getting drivers back on the road quickly and safely.

As part of its commitment to quality service, the company is now offering a simplified, competitive pricing structure for preventative maintenance services. Backed by a nationwide limited warranty, the new flat price for a full preventative maintenance service with conventional oil is $299.99 for all engine types.

© 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 Debuts Professional First Asset Management Liability Insurance in the UK and Ireland

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) has launched Professional First Asset Management Liability Insurance in the UK and Ireland.

The insurance provides broad, clearly worded professional liability, directors & officers liability, and crime coverage tailored for investment managers and funds in the UK and Ireland.

“Highly volatile investment and economic markets, coupled with increased regulatory oversight and operational exposures, have made investment managers increasingly vulnerable to claims,” said Tom Dilley, Head of Financial Institutions, BHSI in the UK. “Our Professional First Asset Management Liability policy provides investment managers and funds in the UK and Ireland with comprehensive, customizable protection, backed by marketing-leading financial strength and claims handling expertise.”

The new policy encompasses a variety of professional services and can be tailored to suit different investment structures and investment classes. It provides security for directors and officers for claims arising from wrongful acts in the management of the company or fund, and a dedicated tower of limits for Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) related losses. The policy also provides additional limits for non-executive directors, unlimited lifetime cover for retired directors and officers, and comprehensive crime coverage.

BHSI’s Professional First suite of professional liability products is designed to provide clear, current and customizable coverage for the risks of financial and commercial firms. BHSI will be expanding the suite with additional products in the UK and Ireland in 2019.

© 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.

Lubrizol Acquires Laboratoire Phenobio

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The Lubrizol Corporation has announced the acquisition of Laboratoire Phenobio, an innovative supplier of naturally-derived extracts and botanical active ingredients. Recognized across the world as a pioneer in botanical extracts and natural performance ingredients, this addition expands Lubrizol’s existing capabilities to provide clean natural ingredients across the cosmetic, nutraceutical and life sciences industries.

Located near the Bordeaux region in France, the company’s unique capabilities in subcritical water extraction (SWE) of botanical biomass, coupled with their energy-economic and eco-responsible technologies provide significant value to Lubrizol’s global sustainability efforts. This expertise includes a technology used to extract phytoactives from botanical raw materials and is also commonly known as pressurized low polarity water (PLPW). The technology involves extraction of a broad range of phytoactives that are not normally obtained with only water.

“Lubrizol continues to invest in innovative technologies to offer step change formulations for the personal care and life sciences markets” states Deb Langer, Lubrizol vice president and general manager of personal, home and healthcare. “With this acquisition, Lubrizol customers will have access to novel botanical extracts compliant with ECOCERT® and COSMOS standards that meet the naturality and sustainability expectations end users are requiring on a global basis. Additionally, our preferred partners will have access to final formulations using this exciting new technology.”

© 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.

With Skyrocketing Revenues, Brooks Running Co. Elevates Dan Sheridan to Executive Vice President & COO

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Things are looking up at Berkshire Hathaway’s Brooks Running Company, as the company continues to carve out a successful strategy of marketing itself to the serious runner.

Following a successful year in which the brand reported a 26-percent year-over-year increase in global revenue, Brooks has promoted longtime and accomplished leader Dan Sheridan to a newly configured role of Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer.

Sheridan’s responsibilities include leadership of the brand’s sales, e-commerce, digital, supply chain and information technology (IT) teams. As Brooks continues to pursue its goal of becoming the No. 1 brand for all who run, Sheridan will be critical in overseeing the growth of the brand’s enterprise and digital platforms, developing Brooks’ wholesale and e-commerce businesses, cultivating distributor partnerships across the world and building stronger connections with runners to fuel e-commerce.

“2018 was a fabulous year for Brooks. The growth we’re seeing is incredibly exciting because it indicates our brand is resonating with runners who are choosing our gear as they head out the door on their runs,” said Jim Weber, CEO, Brooks Running Company. “As we continue to grow, Dan’s experience leading teams, driving process and ensuring the runner stays at the center of all business decisions will be invaluable.”

Sheridan joined Brooks Running in 1998 and through his career has been critical in the continued growth of the brand and business. Prior to his new role, Sheridan led global sales, e-commerce, business development and customer service.

“I’ve believed in this brand since the day I started and it’s been incredibly fun and rewarding to see our growth. We’ve built an incredibly strong foundation focused on creating the best gear for runners worldwide,” said Sheridan. “I’m excited by the opportunity to build on this success as we bring Brooks’ unique premium brand experiences to more runners around the world. In this new role, I’m specifically looking forward to digging deeper into how we scale our enterprise and digital platforms to better service our retail partners and runners everywhere.”

© 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.