Category Archives: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Introduces First Scuff-Resistant Paint

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Benjamin Moore has introduced Ultra Spec SCUFF-X – the first-of-its-kind, one-component interior latex paint engineered specifically to resist scuffmarks in high-traffic, commercial environments.

According to the company, SCUFF-X provides superior scuff-resistance to two-component coatings, without the strong odor, pre-mixing, short pot-life and application difficulties associated with similar products.

“Our proprietary scuff-resistant technology minimizes repainting, retouching and cleaning, while offering easy application, low odor and quick dry-time,” said Alfredo Valiente, Benjamin Moore Brand Manager. “The Ultra Spec line of coatings is the trusted solution for commercial contractors and introducing SCUFF-X to the portfolio will dramatically improve how professionals maintain the busiest areas of their facilities.”

Recommended areas for use include high-traffic, commercial spaces such as hallways, stairwells, lobbies, offices, gymnasiums, locker rooms, public restrooms, retail fitting rooms and much more. The cutting-edge formulation enables the coating to be low-VOC, eligible for LEED® v4 credit, and CHPS certified.

© 2017 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.

Benjamin Moore Becomes Innovation Partner with American Institute of Architects

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Berkshire Hathaway’s wholly-owned Benjamin Moore has become an Innovation Partner of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The new relationship will leverage Benjamin Moore’s thought leadership in the design and architecture market through content and education programs, while also providing support to students of architecture who are on the path to licensure.

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.

“We are delighted to have the support of Benjamin Moore as an Innovation Partner of the AIA,” noted Robert Ivy, FAIA, EVP/Chief Executive Officer of the AIA. “Their knowledge and expertise in paints and stains can help us serve architects and advance good design in the built environment.”

“Benjamin Moore is proud to partner with the AIA on their efforts to offer continuing education and ongoing support for the architectural community,” said Veronica Connallon Arcaroli, Director, Architect and Designer Segment at Benjamin Moore.

“We are committed to providing resources and opportunities that help architects and other trade professionals enhance their development and growth within the industry.”

© 2017 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.

Benjamin Moore Ranked Number 1 in Customer Satisfaction By J.D. Power

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Off to a terrific revenue jump in 2016, Berkshire Hathaway’s paint, color and coatings brand Benjamin Moore has something additional to crow about, as the company has been ranked highest in customer satisfaction with both interior paints and exterior stains by J.D. Power.

According to the 2016 Paint Satisfaction Study, Benjamin Moore achieved the highest numerical scores over all other brands among interior paints (836) and exterior stains (814) on a 1,000-point scale.

“Benjamin Moore is proud to be recognized as the highest-ranking in customer satisfaction for our paints and stains,” said Mike Searles, President and CEO of Benjamin Moore. “We are committed to developing the most innovative, best-performing coatings that meet the needs of customers, contractors and designers, and this honor not only indicates the superiority of our products in the marketplace, but also demonstrates that only Benjamin Moore can make the impossible possible.”

J.D. Power measures customer satisfaction in the interior and exterior paint and stain market across six factors: application, design guides, durability, price, product offerings and warranty/guarantee. Benjamin Moore scored highest in the application, durability and product offerings factors within the interior paint brand segment of the study. Additionally, the brand achieved the highest score in all six study factors within the exterior stain brand segment.

The study is based on 16,128 responses measuring experiences and perceptions of customers who purchased and applied interior paint and exterior stain in the previous 12 months. Customers were surveyed from January through February 2016.

Benjamin Moore’s Strong Growth

2015 was a good year for Benjamin Moore, with the company having its best results in a decade.

The company is off to a strong start for 2016, with its best first quarter in five years.

The key drivers of the growth is a commitment to new distribution outlets.

Benjamin Moore added 265 new outlets in 2015, with a net gain after store closing and changes in brands of 79 locations.

The growth is a combination of operating conversions as existing paint dealers switch to the Benjamin Moore brand, and dealers branching out and opening new outlets.

The company emphasizes that its network of independent dealers is at the heart of customer satisfaction, as people receive a high level of service.

At the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Dan Calkins, Benjamin Moore’s Executive Vice-President of Sales, noted that Benjamin Moore dealers give excellent customer service “because their livelihoods depend on it.”

Benjamin Moore has made a conscious decision to not sell its products at big box stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

The company is constantly innovating its product line, and will have a new product launch in November.

© 2016 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’s Hidden Ownership of Kraft Heinz Shares

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Berkshire Hathaway has come out of the Kraft Heinz merger as its biggest single shareholder with 325,442,152 shares of common stock and 80,000 shares of 9% cumulative compounding preferred stock, Series A.

Berkshire’s partner in the acquisition, 3G Capital, is the second largest shareholder with 293,536,058 shares of common stock.

Combined, Berkshire and 3G own 51% of the new consumer food giant.

Berkshire’s Additional Hidden Ownership

As they say in the TV ads, “But wait there’s more!”

Berkshire Hathaway has an additional ownership stake in Kraft Heinz through the pension fund of its subsidiary, Benjamin Moore & Co.

Benjamin Moore’s retirement plan owns 192,666 shares of common stock in its own right.

As usual with all things Berkshire Hathaway, it’s good to keep in mind that the conglomerate is like a series of nested dolls, and in its companies, or sometimes even in its companies within its companies, there are often hidden treasures.

© 2015 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.

Benjamin Moore Launches $50 Million Ad Campaign

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With much of the house paint sold to do-it-yourselfers these days being purchased at big-box stores, such as Lowes and Home Depot, Berkshire Hathaway’s Benjamin Moore has launched an aggressive campaign to highlight the brand as a premium product that is sold exclusively at 5,000 small retailers.

The campaign, which uses the new tagline—”Paint like no other,” parodies the big-box store experience by using two marionettes to represent the big-box store staff. The ads emphasis the professionalism of the Benjamin Moore retailers, which are small, locally-owned businesses.

The $50 million campaign is using a mix of TV, radio, print and digital media to reach consumers that have been increasing their DIY projects now that the 2009 recession is firmly in the rear-view mirror.

The ad campaign is Benjamin Moore’s largest ever, and is the first to be overseen by Ron Schuller, who joined the company in November 2014 as the Chief Marketing Officer.

© 2015 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.

Commentary: What a Can of Paint Says About Warren Buffett

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Founded by the Moore brothers in 1883, Benjamin Moore Company has been a leader in indoor and outdoor paint for over a century. The company introduced the popular Regal® Wall Satin interior latex paint in 1957, and in 1982 became the first company to do computerized color matching. The company positions itself as a premium paint manufacturer, and its products consistently rate well. In 2014, it was ranked highest in interior paint customer satisfaction by J.D. Power for the fourth year in a row.

In 2000, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company for roughly $1 billion in an all cash deal. It’s a deal that has worked out well for Berkshire, and Warren Buffett told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in October 2013 that Benjamin Moore had generated $1.5 billion in profit over the previous decade.

Independent Dealer Strategy

Since its founding, Benjamin Moore has sold its paint through a network of independent dealers. The dealer network encompasses 6,500 stores coast to coast, and the company sells its paint internationally as well, with a growing presence in China and Russia as the stand outs.

However, the place you won’t find Benjamin Moore paint is in big box stores, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.

The Growth of the Big Box Store

The big box stores that are leaders in the do-it-yourselfer retail category have undergone explosive growth, with Home Depot claiming the record for fastest growth of a retail outlet. Founded in 1978, Home Depot reached its 100th store in 1998, and by 2011, it had 2,248 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. Similarly, Lowe’s operates more than 1,830 stores within the same geographic area. Combined, they represent over 4,000 locations, with each one doing many times the business of a mom-and-pop store.

Where is Benjamin Moore?

The rise of the big box stores would seem to leave Benjamin Moore on the outside looking in, so why isn’t Benjamin Moore on the inside?

The answer is simple.

If Benjamin Moore made its paint available to Lowe’s and Home Depot, it would devastate the independent dealer network. The independent dealers count on their product exclusivity to protect their pricing and sales model. And, Buffett’s promise to protect that dealer network was such that when he got wind of Benjamin Moore’s CEO Denis Abrams plan to start selling to a major retailer, Abrams was fired on the spot.

Keeping a Promise

The move protected the independent dealers, but the deal also did something else. It protected Berkshire Hathaway’s reputation for living up to its word, especially when it comes to acquisitions.

Berkshire Hathaway’s sterling reputation for honoring its word has become another bullet in Warren Buffett’s famed “Elephant Gun.” It helped him land Iscar Metalworking Companies in 2006, when he received an unsolicited letter from Iscar’s Chairman Eitan Wertheimer offering to sell Iscar to Berkshire. Seven years later, Wertheimer cited his great relationship with Buffett and Berkshire as one of the reasons he felt comfortable selling his remaining 20% interest to Berkshire in 2013.

A Priceless Weapon

As Buffett goes on the hunt for the next elephant, he’s got $30 billion in cash in his arsenal. He’s also got the priceless value of keeping his word.

Hopefully, his successors will recognize the power of that weapon too.

© 2014 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.