Monthly Archives: July 2019

Mouser Electronics Opens Customer Service Center in Vietnam

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, Inc. today announced the opening of its Vietnam Customer Service Center, in Ho Chi Minh City. This new customer service center, located in the iconic Bitexco Financial Tower, will support local electronic design engineers, buyers and hardware innovators, helping them to locate the newest products for their designs.
Mouser now has 26 service locations worldwide, with 10 locations in the Asia Pacific region.

The electronics industry in Vietnam has seen rapid growth in the past decade and is quickly becoming an important hub for global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and electronics manufacturing services (EMS). Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s largest city, hosts many electronics markets and an increasing number of manufacturing services that have spurred demand for electronic components.

“In Vietnam, our business has grown around 180 percent in the last five years,” stated Mark Burr-Lonnon, Mouser’s Senior Vice President of Global Service & EMEA and APAC Business. “We are very excited about this exceptional growth and look forward to providing a local presence to better serve customers throughout Vietnam in local languages and time zones.”

As the global authorized distributor with the newest semiconductors and electronic components, Mouser gives design engineers, buyers and innovators easy access to the newest electronic components and comprehensive design resources. The Services and Tools site, available on Mouser.com, makes it easy for customers to search for products, personalize their orders and access their previous purchases, helping to speed time-to-market. With real-time availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the site’s many resources offer unique capabilities that help customers in their design and creation processes.

Mouser has been offering products and services to engineers across Vietnam through its comprehensive website, Mouser.vn, as well as via phone, email and fax. The new customer support center will better support existing customers while also enhancing Mouser’s overall marketing efforts to serve new customers in the area.

© 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.

Brooks Markets Ice-Cream Inspired Running Shoes

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Brooks Running Company is marketing the Melts Collection to pay tribute to runners’ favorite post-run treats during the summer: ice cream.

New designs inspired by iconic flavors adorn the limited-edition Ghost 12 and Ricochet LE, and became available to runners on July 25.

“Some our favorite runs are under the sun during summer, and we know that many runners, like us, enjoy a cold, tasty post-run treat to cool down,” said Director of Footwear Merchandising Brice Newton. “With the Melts Collection, we give a special nod to those moments by paying tribute to the ice cream and Popsicle flavors we turn to after the miles are in the bank.”

The limited-edition Ghost 12 features a newly engineered mesh as well as a 3D Fit Print upper for a secure fit. The shoe’s BioMoGo DNA and DNA Loft cushioned midsole provide a just-right softness without losing responsiveness and durability. The Segmented Crash Pad, an integrated system of shock absorbers, will cushion every stride and provide smooth heel-to-toe transitions.

The Melts versions of the shoe draw inspiration from crowd-pleasing favorite ice cream flavors like rainbow sherbet and vanilla with sprinkles on women’s colorways. The sherbet colorway features a colorful, swirled midsole, evoking melting ice cream. The vanilla sprinkle colorway has creamy neutral tones and a sprinkle-patterned midsole along with beautiful ombre shoelaces that fade from pink to orange. The men’s offerings channel other crowd favorites including cookies and cream and a rocket pop colorway. The cookies and cream shoe feature chocolate browns and blacks complemented by rich creamy whites. Cookie crumbles speckle the midsole and matching shoelaces. The rocket pop colorway draws inspiration from the popular tri-colored ice pop featuring blue, white and red, which fade from one color to the next on the midsole. The colors pop against the brilliant blue upper.

The Ricochet LE features BioMoGo DNA and DNA AMP cushioning, providing a light, responsive ride to give more energy back to each stride. The flexible, arrow-point pattern on the outsole provides a platform for quick transitions as you quickly move from heel-to-toe. The Melts Collection includes a women’s Ricochet LE in vanilla sprinkles, featuring the design elements of its Ghost 12 counterpart along with a waffle cone-inspired saddle.
The Ghost 12 sells for $130 and the Ricochet LE for $120. The collection went on sale beginning July 25 at brooksrunning.com and at select retailers.

© 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’s CalEnergy Resources Buys Into IOG’s Southern North Sea assets

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Berkshire Hathaway’s CalEnergy Resources Limited (“CER”) has signed a deal with Independent Oil and Gas plc (“IOG”) for a farm out of 50 percent of IOG’s Southern North Sea assets.

Highlights
• IOG has signed binding definitive agreements with CER to farm out 50 per cent of its Southern North Sea assets, comprising all of the Company’s upstream assets (except for the Harvey licences), as well as the Thames Pipeline and associated Thames Reception Facilities (the “Farm-out”).
• The consideration payable by CER comprises:
o £40 million initial cash payment
o up to £125 million by way of a development carry representing 80 per cent of the costs associated with IOG’s retained 50 per cent interest, comprising:
• up to £60 million of development costs for Phase 1
• up to £65 million of development costs for Phase 2
o £0.50/MCF royalty on CER’s interest in Goddard production above 70 BCF gross up to a cap of £9.75 million.
• CER will receive a royalty of 20.2 percent of IOG’s Phase 1 revenues up to a cap of £91 million.
• CER will have the option, within three months of the Harvey appraisal well completion, to farm in to 50 per cent of the Harvey licences in consideration for:
o £20 million additional cash payment
o an uncapped royalty of £0.95/MCF on CER’s net Harvey gas production (equivalent to £61.3 million if Harvey produces IOG’s 129 BCF Best Estimate Prospective Resources).
• IOG and CER have also signed an Area of Mutual Interest (“AMI”) agreement to pursue further business development opportunities in the scope of the Thames Pipeline on a 50:50 basis.
• IOG is planning to issue a Euro-denominated Senior Secured Bond (“Bond”) of approximately £70 million to fund its share of Phase 1 costs. There is no additional external funding requirement expected for Phase 2.
• Upon Farm-out and Bond completion, IOG and CER will submit notice of Core Project Phase 1 Final Investment Decision (“FID”) to the Oil and Gas Authority (“OGA”).
• IOG has also entered into agreements to repay and restructure its existing financing arrangements with London Oil and Gas (“LOG”)
• IOG will retain Operatorship of the Core Project.

The Core Project comprises 410 BCF, of 2P+2C reserves and resources across six discovered Southern North Sea (SNS) gas fields. IOG will pay CER a royalty of 20.2% of its net revenues from the Phase 1 fields only (i.e. 10.1 per cent of gross Phase 1 revenues, net of National Transmission System entry charges and applicable marketing fees), up to a cap of £91 million over field life.

In addition, IOG will receive an effective royalty interest equating to £0.50/MCF on CER’s 50 percent share of production from certain sections of the Goddard Field after 70 BCF gross has been produced from the field up to a maximum royalty of £9.75 million.

© 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

Johns Manville Awarded 2018 “Partner of Choice” from David Weekley Homes

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Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company and leading building products manufacturer, was honored as a 2018 “Partner of Choice” by David Weekley Homes, the nation’s largest privately-held residential homebuilder.

This is the sixth year that Johns Manville has been awarded this honor since 2011.

“We’re honored to be recognized by David Weekley Homes for our product quality and service, an effort our employees strive to deliver each day,” said Tommy Knappich, vice president and general manager of Building Insulation at Johns Manville. “We value our partnership with David Weekley Homes and look forward to continuing to work together to fulfill our shared goals and match the evolving needs of customers.”

David Weekley Homes launched the supplier evaluation system and “Partner of Choice” award in 2004 for its over 100 National Trading Partners across a range of industries with the goal of delivering the best possible service to homebuyers. The survey gauges customer feedback on supplier performance in the categories of product quality and service. Results of the unique evaluation system allow David Weekley Homes to analyze performance, provide specific feedback to suppliers and recognize performance, in turn helping the company achieve its goal of working in harmony to deliver solutions to customers.

“Our in-depth survey process helps us select the strongest companies to assist us in delivering an unequaled experience for our homebuyers, and Johns Manville has met that challenge head on,” said John Schiegg, director of supply chain services at David Weekley Homes. “Our goal is to deliver the best in design, choice and service to our customers, and our National Trading Partners play a vital role in helping us fulfill that goal with each and every homebuyer.”

© 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 Shipping Numbers Continue to Lag Behind 2018 Numbers

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BNSF Railway’s carloads for 2019 have continued their downward trend as compared to 2018 due to a major decrease in intermodal shipping, which are down 5.53% from 2018.

Coal shipments as of the week ending July 20, 2019, are down 5.21% over the same period last year, and combined intermodal and carloads numbers are down 4.41% in the aggregate.

Also, showing weaker numbers are grain shipments, which are down 10.9%, and shipments of motor vehicles are down 5.31%.

Last year was a strong year for BNSF, with the combined carloads including intermodal up 4.03% over 2017, however 2019’s numbers have been hurt by lower shipments due to tariffs, weak global demand for coal, and severe spring flooding in the Midwest that closed some routes and slowed others.

© 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.

Stovall, REALTORS® Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, has announced that independent brokerage Stovall, REALTORS® of Abilene, Texas, has joined its network operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stovall, REALTORS®.

“We proudly welcome Steve Stovall and his team to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,” said Gino Blefari, chairman of the network. “Abilene is an important market for our network and Stovall, REALTORS® is a strong community ambassador and a powerful source for real estate guidance and superior client service.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to join the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand,” said Stovall, a fourth generation Abilenian. “The network is trusted and respected, as is its Berkshire Hathaway Inc. namesake, and it appeals to the broadest range of real estate consumers. We believe the brand is ideal for higher-end properties and ranch properties – market segments in which we plan to grow.”

With their brand transition, Stovall, REALTORS® agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ active referral and relocation networks, and its “FOREVER Cloud” technology suite for lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has aligned with Salesforce to deliver world-class technology support to its network members far into the future.

The brand also provides global listing syndication, professional training and ongoing education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings. Its Prestige Magazine showcases network members’ premium listings with a strong lineup of feature stories covering topics that appeal to high-end real estate consumers.
“There isn’t a better tool suite and support platform in real estate,” Stovall said. “I’m proud to provide my agents with progressive and useful tools to help them be their very best and most efficient for their clients.”

Stovall said the time is right for his brand announcement. The Abilene economy is percolating, driven by the military, education, sustainable energy and other industries. Real estate sales are strong yet balanced with about a three-month supply of homes for sale. Forbes almost annually names Abilene among the best places to retire in America.
“The future looks bright from where we operate in West Texas,” said Stovall. “Our entire team is energized and ready for a new era of excellence as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stovall, REALTORS®.”

Chris Stuart, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded the brokerage’s network membership. “The Stovall, REALTORS® team is known for hard work, innovation and passionate client service,” he said. “To be sure, our brand is well-represented in greater Abilene.”

© 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 & Toyota to Jointly Develop Vehicles

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Chinese battery and vehicle maker BYD has signed an agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation for the joint development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The two parties will jointly develop sedans and low-floor SUVs as well as the onboard batteries for these vehicles and others with the aim to launch them in the Chinese market under the Toyota brand in the first half of the 2020s.

BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery business and has grown into a total energy solution company, manufacturing not only electrified vehicles but other products such as large-size energy storage cells. The company name BYD stands for “Build Your Dreams” and core parts for electrified vehicles such as batteries, motors and power electronics are among the products that BYD develops in-house. In 2008, BYD became the first company in the world to sell mass production of plug-in hybrid electrified vehicles (PHEVs). Since 2015 onwards, BYD’s sales of BEVs and PHEVs have been ranked first in the world for four consecutive years.

In 1997, Toyota became the first company in the world to launch mass production hybrid electrified vehicles (HEVs). Since then, it has become a pioneer of electrified vehicle development, and accumulated a rich array of technologies and experience in the development, production, and sales of electrified vehicles.

To curb global warming, both BYD and Toyota seek to reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the widespread use of BEVs. To accomplish these goals, both companies believe there is a need to put aside their rivalry and collaborate; therefore, the two companies have agreed to jointly develop BEVs.

Going forward, BYD and Toyota will make use of the electrified vehicles, and battery development technologies they have acquired through their market introductions and will work together to further develop BEVs that are attractive to customers and in further promoting their widespread adoption.

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.

Berkadia Arranges $50M Refinancing for Pan American Life Center

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Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Jefferies Financial Group, has arranged the $49.8-million refinancing loan for the Pan American Life Center, a 28-story office building in New Orleans.

Located at 601 Poydras Street, the property consists of 674,000 square feet of leasable office space. On-site features and amenities include building management, a covered parking garage and a full-service restaurant. The building’s Conference Center also features a 24,451-square-foot multi-purpose facility, and a 252-seat theater-style auditorium.

Berkadia’s Andy Coleman secured the financing on behalf of the borrower, Louisiana-based Stirling Properties through lender Wells Fargo. The loan features a 10-year, fixed-rate term and a 25-year amortization schedule.

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.

Shane Wheeler Named GEICO’s VP of Claims Operations

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The GEICO Board of Directors has promoted Shane Wheeler to vice president in charge of the company’s claims operations. Wheeler will be based at GEICO corporate headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Since 2016, he had served as assistant vice president of claims for GEICO’s regional operations in Tucson, Arizona. Before that, he was the liability director for the regional office in Dallas.

Wheeler joined GEICO in 1999 as a service counselor at the San Diego regional office and entered the management internship program shortly thereafter. After completing the program, he was named a supervisor in the claims division.

He transferred to the Tucson regional office in 2004 and the Dallas regional office in 2011, holding claims management roles at both locations. He was named liability director for the Dallas region in 2013. Three years later, he was elected the Tucson region’s assistant vice president of claims.

Wheeler holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and a master’s degree from the University of Arizona. He earned his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriting (CPCU) designation in 2007.

© 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 Reorganizes its Personal, Home and Health Care Business Lines

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The Lubrizol Corporation has announced the reorganization of its Personal, Home and Health Care business lines, integrating them under a newly dedicated brand, Lubrizol Life Science.

The change reflects the company’s commitment to evolve with the beauty, health, home and wellness markets, which continue to cross over and converge. The newly formed Lubrizol Life Science team seeks to enhance the value of its solutions and services to customers and end users through its collective expertise in chemistry, applications and market insights.

“Lubrizol Life Science brings together a great variety of formulation and product development experience to sit under one umbrella,” says Lubrizol Advanced Materials President Rick Tolin. “Our internal capabilities are focused and aligned to help our customers quickly meet the expectations of today’s consumers for products that ensure them of a healthier, more beautiful and comfortable life.”

The newly aligned Lubrizol Life Science team is placing a priority on developing and testing products in partnership with customers, engineering breakthroughs and co-driving initiatives that fuel growth. Practices and processes emphasize agile innovation, enabling the organization to act at the speed of a start-up, while responding with the reach, resources and delivery of a global leader. The new brand will also emphasize the proactive innovation needed to bring market-ready solutions to customers, while capitalizing on the reliability of Lubrizol’s 90 years of science and efficacy.

Tolin points out, “Our beauty, health and home customers can count on us bringing truly differentiated products to market, formulated with ingredients that are consumer-driven and backed by the reliability of Lubrizol.” Tolin adds, “The Lubrizol Life Science team is poised to service customers throughout the value chain, from concept to commercialization. Once viewed by customers as a chemical and ingredient supplier, we have evolved into an essential, concept-to-commercialization solutions partner.”

Lubrizol Life Science also plans to add strategic technology, capability and talent by investing to expand its portfolio, including new acquisitions that bring unique opportunities and synergies.

© 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.