Monthly Archives: April 2019

BYD Rolls Out World’s Longest Pure Electric Bus

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BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, has debuted a three-section, 27-meter (89-feet) pure electric bus.

The double articulation bus is capable of transporting 250 people at a top-speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph).

“Today, BYD once again uses its core technology, reliable products and innovative solutions to solve the two great urban ills of congestion and pollution,” Stella Li, Senior Vice President of BYD said. “The K12A will bring zero emissions to BRT systems, allowing passengers to enjoy quiet, pollution-free travel, while at the same time saving significant maintenance costs for operators.”

The bus can optimize it efficiency by switching between 2-wheel-drive and 4-wheel-drive.

The K12A is designed for lower-speed, high capacity operations, including airport shuttles and university campus routes where quick loading and high seating capacity are the most important factors.

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.

BNSF Granted FAA Exemptions for its Drone Operations

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BNSF Railway has received an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 so it can expand its drone inspection operations.

Under a pilot program approved by the FAA, BNSF has been testing drones for supplemental inspection of rail infrastructure.

The exemption allowed its drones to fly beyond visual line of sight. It includes a programmed aircraft with long-range flight plans to be flown autonomously and out of view of an operator.

Under the FAA exemption, BNSF has:

• permission to fly BVLOS flights below 400 feet above ground level because altitudes higher pose a risk of collision with other aircraft;

• an exemption from requiring a FAA airworthiness certificate because the aircraft does not create a hazard to users of national airspace system or the public;

• an exemption from certain maintenance requirements so that BNSF can conduct regularly scheduled maintenance and inspection in accordance with the drone operation manual; and

• permission for BNSF UAS pilots that hold a private pilot certificate and a third-class medical certification to conduct operations for compensation.

© 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 Celebrates 300th Pure Electric Bus Built in Lancaster, California

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BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, and the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) celebrated two milestones: BYD’s 300th battery-electric bus built in Lancaster, California; and AVTA’s 1,000,000th electric service mile running BYD buses.

The AVTA serves the cities of Palmdale, Lancaster and Northern Los Angeles County, California.

Speakers included Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, Palmdale Mayor Steven D. Hofbauer, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, Shi Yuanqiang , and SMART Union Rep Willy Solorzano.

Two messages ran throughout the program: electric buses are good for the environment; and building them locally is great for our communities.

“We are very proud of this 300th American bus milestone. We are passionate about our mission to create a cleaner environment here in North America and across the globe,” said Stella Li, BYD President.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris added, “BYD has continuously shown its dedication to our community and region at-large, since establishing its North American manufacturing facilities here in Lancaster,” Parris said. “Along the way, BYD has established itself as the gold standard in the battery electric bus transportation industry. In fact, our local Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) will very soon have a 100% all-electric bus fleet.”

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.

Marmon Crane Services Acquires Texas-Based Joyce Crane

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Marmon Crane Services has acquired Texas-based Joyce Crane. Marmon Crane Services is a unit of Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Holdings.

Headquartered in Longview, Texas, with additional locations in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, Joyce Crane serves the heavy duty lifting and rigging needs of refineries, petrochemical companies, and power and manufacturing plants throughout the South and across the country.

“We are excited to welcome Joyce Crane and its employees to Marmon’s global portfolio of crane businesses,” said John Roberts, Sector President of Marmon Crane Service. “Joyce Crane is a company with a strong brand and an excellent service record, and we look forward to its continued growth under Marmon’s ownership.”

The company will continue to operate under the Joyce Crane name and brand. Staff and leadership, including founder Joe Bob Joyce, will remain the same with business support by Marmon Crane Services management.

“This is a very exciting time for Joyce Crane. This agreement is a positive move that will strengthen both companies and benefit all of Joyce Crane’s stakeholders, including our employees, clients, and vendors,” said Joe Bob Joyce, President. “We also remain steadfast in our commitment to the communities where we live and do business.”

Marmon Crane Services is headquartered in Chicago. The company owns and operates one of the largest fleets in the world with more than 1,200 mobile cranes. Its current companies include Procrane and Sterling Crane in Canada and the United States; Advantage Crane, based in Victoria, British Columbia; Freo Group, based in Kwinana, Western Australia; and WGC Cranes, based in Wollongong, New South Wales. Marmon’s crane business originated with Sterling Crane in western Canada in 1954.

Marmon Crane Services is part of Marmon Holdings, Inc., a Chicago-based diversified holding company with operations in 23 countries and 2018 revenues exceeding $8 billion.

Marmon Holdings is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

© 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.

Berkadia Completes $26 million Sale of The Preserve at Collier Ridge

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Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Jefferies Financial Group, has announced the $26 million sale of The Preserve at Collier Ridge, a 419-unit garden-style multifamily property in Fulton, Georgia.

Managing Directors Andrew Mays and Paul Vetter, Senior Director Judy MacManus and Director Matthew White of Berkadia’s Atlanta office completed the sale on behalf of the seller, Atlanta-based DRI Legacy, LLC.

The buyer was Montreal-based Frankforter Group.

“The property is located in a newly registered “Opportunity Zone” and proximate to the new $460 million UPS distribution facility which contributes to a strong value-add story for the property,” said MacManus.

“Currently 100 percent affordable with qualified contract eligibility, Preserve at Collier Ridge is a Section 42 LIHTC community that is eligible for market-rate conversion in 2021 and allows new ownership to benefit from substantial upside in the near future,” added White.

The Preserve at Collier Ridge features one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans with dishwashers, garbage disposals, air conditioning and private balconies. Community amenities include a pool, a playground, laundry facilities and a picnic area. The new ownership plans to upgrade the existing fitness center and add both a business center and a community room. Located at 1021 Harwell Road NW, the property affords convenient access to Interstate 285.

About Berkadia

Founded in 2009 as a 50/50 joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation (now known as Jefferies Financial Group), 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.

© 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 Company Adds Transactional Liability Insurance in Asia and the Middle East

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI) has begun offering Transactional Liability Insurance through its Asia and Middle East (AME) regions and appointed Steven Harwood as the Head of Transactional Liability in AME.

“Properly navigating the risks of corporate transactions is critical to growing companies and industry leaders alike,” said Marc Breuil, Head of AME, BHSI. “This expansion enhances our ability to provide transactional liability underwriting expertise and know-how through our regional hubs of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai.”

“Steve Harwood has extensive experience helping companies respond swiftly and strategically to the risks of mergers, acquisitions and other transactions, and we are delighted that he has joined BHSI.”

BHSI will focus primarily on providing Representations and Warranties Insurance as well as Tax Liability Insurance across AME. The company already provides Transactional Liability coverage from offices in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Steven comes to BHSI from Pembroke Managing Agency Underwriting at Lloyd’s Japan, where he was Senior Underwriter & Solicitor, M&A Insurance. Before that, he was Senior Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, and Divisional Director (London and Tokyo) at Willis Faber & Dumas Ltd, a Lloyd’s Reinsurance Broker. Steven, who served as a Royal Navy Officer, holds a bachelor’s degree from London University and a master’s degree from International Budo University in Japan.

© 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.

Kraft Heinz ‘s Evolv Ventures Picks GrubMarket as its First Investment

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Kraft Heinz’s Evolv Ventures, the $100 million venture fund backed by the prepared foods company, has announced GrubMarket as its first investment.

GrubMarket is a platform that sources local food directly from producers and delivers it directly to businesses and consumers. Terms of the agreement were not released.

“We’re excited to invest in GrubMarket, a platform that is disrupting the food wholesale market,” said Steve Sanger, General Partner of Evolv Ventures. “GrubMarket plans to grow its presence and product offerings through both geographic and product expansion. Evolv Ventures is pleased to support its innovative founders.”

Since Evolv Ventures announced the formation of the fund in October 2018, the fund has quickly established itself by hiring an experienced team of investors and entrepreneurs and is actively working and investing with leading companies in the space, such as GrubMarket.

Evolv Ventures Capital Fund invests in emerging tech companies transforming the food industry. The venture fund aims to accelerate Kraft Heinz’s exposure to emerging technologies and businesses and leverage Kraft Heinz’s position in the industry to become the most value-added investor in the space.

© 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 perfo

Lubrizol Looks to India for Expertise

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Lubrizol Advanced Materials India Pvt. Ltd. signed an agreement in February with The Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) for the supply of technical services and new application development of Estane(R) thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

ICT is a leading chemical technology research university in Mumbai, India.

The agreement was signed by Ms. Ursula Thakkar, Managing Director, Lubrizol Advanced Materials, and Prof. G. D. Yadav, Vice Chancellor, ICT. The agreement sets the stage for a close collaboration that aims to develop new end-use applications in the Indian industrial sector. Speaking on this occasion, Ms. Ursula Thakkar, Managing Director South Asia said, “We are very pleased to partner with ICT as part of our strategy to provide innovative solutions for our customers in India”.

Dr. Jesus Santamaria, Regional business director for Engineered Polymers, EMEAI added: “India is one of the key regions that is contributing – and will contribute much more in the future – to our global business growth. We acknowledge the specificities of India as a market, different from other regions and, as such, deserving a differentiated support. Growing TPU applications in mobility, electronics and Industry 4.0 (digitalization and automation) are positioning India at the forefront of technology. This agreement is critical to this vision as it will complement our current global technical centers with a local support from one of the most globally recognized chemical technology institutions.”

Lubrizol Engineered Polymers has more than 60 years of experience and a worldwide network that includes formulation design, manufacturing, R&D and cutting-edge technologies.

Lubrizol Engineered Polymers offers one of the broadest portfolios of engineered polymers available today including resins that are bio-based, recyclable, light stable, flame retardant, adhesive, chemically resistant, optically clear and fast cycling. Our technology crosses many industries and applications, including surface protection, power and fluid systems, sports and recreation, wearable devices, electronics and automotive.

© 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.

Charleston Real Estate Agent Megan Callaghan Named to REALTOR Magazine’s Prestigious 30 Under 30 Class for 2019

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has announced that Megan Callaghan, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Great Expectations Realty, has been named to REALTOR® Magazine’s 2019 Class of 30 Under 30 rising stars in residential real estate.

Callaghan was chosen from candidates across America who were judged on their skill, success, creativity, community involvement and leadership in their careers.

“I am truly honored and excited to be named to the 30 Under 30 Class of 2019,” said Callaghan. “I set 30 Under 30 Class membership as a goal of mine when I joined the industry in 2013. For me, this honor and my overall success as an agent result from my drive to go beyond the call of duty for every client. Such consistency and reliability help me be the ‘Forever Agent’ for clients and their referrals.”

Callaghan, who serves the greater Charleston market, is the first real estate professional from West Virginia to be named to a 30 Under 30 list. “We are proud of Megan as she is so deserving of this recognition,” said Michael Callaghan, broker, Great Expectations Realty. “In a short period of time she has grown her business with hard work and dedication. As important, she loves the business and helping people buy and sell homes. Such joy helps her be her very best for clients.”

Callaghan generated $6.4 million in sales volume in 2018 and was active in the West Virginia Association of REALTORS as well as in Generation Charleston, which helps recruit young professionals to the Charleston area. “We are losing population every year, mostly among younger generations. I got involved with Generation Charleston to recruit and retain young professionals in the area. I think the first step to committing to West Virginia is homeownership.”

Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, congratulated Callaghan on her achievement. “We are proud of Megan and the passion and professionalism she pours into every real estate transaction,” Blefari said. “She is a wonderful ambassador of the entire real estate industry and a powerful example of leadership.”

REALTOR Magazine will feature its 30 Under 30 Class members in its May edition.

© 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.

Devastating Fire Makes Forest River RV Plant a Total Loss

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A devastating fire has made a Forest River RV plant in Elkhart, Indiana a total loss.

The plant, Forest River’s plant #59, went up in flames on March 12.

More than 40 firefighters in 15 crews battled to contain the blaze, which produced billowing smoke that could be seen for miles and showed up on area weather radar.

There were no fatalities, as the building was quickly evacuated.

Fire investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire, as the investigation has been hampered by safety issues at the site.

© 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.