Category Archives: Marmon Group

Berkshire Hathaway Acquires Sonnax Industries

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway has made another “bolt-on” acquisition and taken over Sonnax Industries, Inc., via a sale of the company’s assets, to form a new subsidiary of Berkshire’s Marmon Holdings.

The new company will operate as Sonnax Transmission Company.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Sonnax is an industry leader in the cutting edge design, manufacture and distribution of the highest quality products to the automotive aftermarket, commercial vehicle industries, and industrial sectors utilizing drivetrain technology.

As an employee-owned company, the sale was overwhelmingly approved by vote of Sonnax employees. Steve Boyer becomes President of Sonnax Transmission, and will work closely with Sonnax Industries CEO Tommy Harmon to ensure a smooth transition into Marmon.

“Joining Marmon affords Sonnax employees the support and stability of a very successful global organization while maintaining its homegrown, entrepreneurial feel,” Harmon said. “Above all, this expands what we can deliver to our customers, so our future is bright.”

Sonnax Transmission joins Marmon’s Automotive Aftermarket group, whose businesses are well known for providing innovative, engineered solutions for aftermarket installers.

Berkshire’s Marmon Holdings comprises about 175 independent manufacturing and service businesses with facilities in 23 countries and total revenues exceeding $7.7 billion in 2017.

Bolt-On Acquisitions Continue to Power Berkshire’s Growth

© 2018 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 Launches New Business Aimed at Purifying Water for Food Service Industry

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Water Technologies has announced the creation of Marmon Water Foodservice.

The new business will sell its Finity brand of filtration products to foodservice operators ranging from restaurateurs to hotel chefs, foodservice equipment OEMs, and beverage brand owners.

“Impurities in the water supply can lead not only to health issues, but also adverse effects on the taste of food and beverages and even the life of foodservice equipment,” comments Jeff Holcomb, who is President of Marmon Water Foodservice. “Our Finity products provide an easy and cost-effective way for foodservice operators to make their water as clean and as pure as possible.”

Finity uses proprietary water filtration technology to provide the best possible quality. “Patented FACT media technology allows for top-of-the-line filtration with minimal pressure drop,” explains Ric Knasel, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re talking 0.2-micron filtration for protection against bacteria and cysts.” In key applications such as post mix dispensing, Finity Advanced Chloramines reduction products are certified to perform at up to three times the capacity of competitor products at comparable flow rate and footprint.

The systems are available with a sensor and Wi-Fi monitor to alert the owner when a new filter should be installed. Maintenance is simple, too. The Finity system comes with an easy-to-access push bar used to release filter cartridges that are color coded by application to ensure proper replacement. The Finity product line has achieved NSF Standards 42 and 53 and is available for purchase through authorized resellers.

© 2018 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 Engineered Components Acquires PRISM Plastics, Inc.

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Engineered Components Company has acquired PRISM Plastics, Inc. headquartered in Chesterfield, Michigan.

PRISM Plastics is a manufacturer of high-precision injection molded plastic components with a focus on tight tolerance automotive parts used in safety critical, electronic components, fuel systems products, steering systems and drivetrain components. The company has manufacturing facilities in Chesterfield and Port Huron, Michigan, Meadville, Pennsylvania, and Harlingen, Texas.

The Harlingen, Texas facility is located near Reynosa, Mexico and supports customers with Mexico-based manufacturing.

The company manufactures more than a billion parts per year, and in 2016 PRISM doubled the size of its business through the acquisition of Tech Molded Plastics.

PRISM Plastics was acquired from investment firm Altus Capital Partners, which acquired the company in 2014.

Rod Bricker, President and CEO of PRISM Plastics, stated, “With the financial and strategic resources from Altus, we were able to accelerate growth and stay competitive in an increasingly complex and technology-driven industry. We look forward to our new partnership with Marmon and our continued success.”

© 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.

Low Oil Prices Spur More UTLX Permanent Layoffs

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Continued weakness in demand for shipping domestic crude oil has prompted Berkshire Hathaway’s Union Tank Car Co., more commonly referred to as UTLX, to announce major layoffs in Houston, Texas.

UTLX will cut a third of its staff from its facility in northeast Houston.

In a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission, the company stated that it will permanently cut 106 jobs commencing Jan. 20, 2017.

The move is no surprise, as in April 2016 UTLX announced that it would be cutting its tank car production by 50-percent.

At the time, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company announced that it also planned to lay-off employees at its plant in Alexandria, Louisiana.

© 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.

Cornelius Says “Concentrate”…Beer That Is

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Cornelius, Inc., a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway company, and the leading global producer of beverage dispensing systems, is partnering with Sustainable Beverage Technologies, a Colorado based developer of high density beer technologies, to showcase new craft beer formulas to beverage brands and foodservice retailers worldwide at BrauBeviale 2016 located in Nuremburg, Germany.

Sustainable Beverage Technologies (SBT) has partnered with four major breweries: New Belgium, Crazy Mountain, Denali and Flat12 Bierwerks to produce craft beer using high density technology. High density craft beer is a 6:1 concentrate made with traditional ingredients (water, malt, hops, and yeast) that is blended with carbonated water and baseline alcohol. The result, the company claims, is a taste profile that matches the premium beer produced by each brewery.

“These beers taste as good as any other craft beer being served from draft. I wouldn’t know they were produced any differently.” – Grandy Hull, Lead Brewer at New Belgium Brewing.

By creating high density beer using the patented SBT BrewVo® technology, craft brewers benefit from increased production and supply chain efficiencies, allowing their brands to become more accessible to consumers. Delivering high density craft beer through an innovative draft format, this technology will allow draft beer entry into previously inaccessible outlets lacking space for conventional kegs.

Kevin Selvy, Founder and CEO of Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, explained: “We’re excited to be involved with this technology. It is going to fundamentally change the landscape of how the beer industry functions.” Sassan Mossanen, President of Denali Brewing Co., said: “With this approach, we will be able to grow our brand into new markets we couldn’t previously serve [profitably].”

Cornelius touts as revolutionary its next generation tap system that is exclusive to the high density craft beer made by SBT.

The next generation system will support bars and restaurants with a cost effective increase in brand offerings. Jeff Garascia, Senior Vice-President of Growth & Innovation at Cornelius, had this to say,

“Cornelius has partnered with SBT to create a new draft beer platform that provides craft breweries with an opportunity to enter thousands of new locations. The Cornelius Four Paq and Six Paq craft beer dispensers can dispense up to six draft beers in the space used by one today. The use of high density beer dispenser will expand the market for craft beers on draft while providing economic and sustainability benefits across the supply chain. We expect to see high density beer make an impact in the market in 2017 and beyond.”

© 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 Hathaway’s TE Wire & Cable Licenses Ground-breaking Thermocouple Cable Technology

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s TE Wire & Cable LLC, a leading thermocouple and specialty wire and cable manufacturer, today announced the completion of a licensing agreement with Cambridge Enterprise for a ground-breaking thermocouple cable technology developed by researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. This dual wall, low-drift type K and type N mineral insulated (MI) thermocouple cable design was developed to improve temperature measurement accuracy, extend thermocouple life and significantly enhance drift characteristics.

The new cable design was developed for high temperature thermocouple applications and thermocouple installations that require longer use at higher temperatures. The technology will be of particular interest to those involved in aerospace/aircraft manufacturing for measuring jet engine temperatures and for processing applications like heat treatment.

Robert Canny, President of TE Wire & Cable, notes, “Even though this is a completely new technology for us, TE Wire is well positioned to promote it to our customers and corresponding applications. Our depth of application knowledge and industry ties in heat treatment and the aerospace world will allow us to refine this technology in cooperation with forward-thinking customers.”

The processes underlying this new technology are outlined in a paper titled “Development of a Low Drift Type K Thermocouple Cable for Aerospace Applications.” The paper is co-authored by Dr. Michele Scervini, a research scientist at The University of Cambridge in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, and Trevor D. Ford, chief metrologist and technical director at CCPI Europe Limited, the company that performed independent testing in its calibration laboratory on the new low-drift mineral insulated thermocouple.

TE Wire & Cable LLC is a Marmon Wire & Cable/Berkshire Hathaway Company, and is a premier thermocouple and specialty wire and cable manufacturer that was formed from the Wire and Cable Division of the Thermo Electric Corporation.

© 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.

Marmon Acquires Pasta Equipment Maker

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Food, Beverage & Water Technologies Company has acquired Dominioni Punto & Pasta S.r.l., a leading Italian supplier of commercial pasta equipment, by Marmon Pasta Solutions S.r.l.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Founded in 1968 by Pietro Dominioni, the family-run business designs and produces professional pasta equipment for the restaurant, hospitality, and catering markets, as well as high-volume pasta manufacturers. The business will continue to operate under the Dominioni brand name and its operations will remain based in Lurate Caccivio (Como). Fabrizio Dominioni, son of the founder, will continue to manage the business.

Fabrizio Dominioni said: “I am pleased that my family’s business is now part of Marmon and Berkshire Hathaway. Marmon is a strong, successful company and a global leader in the foodservice equipment industry. Our new home within Marmon will enhance our competitive position and our opportunities for growth now and in the future.”

The acquisition is Marmon’s second this year of an Italy-based foodservice equipment company. In June, Marmon Italia acquired Angelo Po of Carpi (Modena).

Angelo Po designs and manufactures professional kitchen equipment including horizontal and vertical cooking products and food preservation systems for caterers and restaurants in Europe, Asia, and North America. Dominioni and Angelo Po are both part of the Restaurant & Catering Technologies Sector within Marmon Food, Beverage & Water Technologies Company.

Fabrizio Valentini, President and CEO of Marmon Food, Beverage & Water Technologies Company, said: “Dominioni is an important addition to our organization. With Angelo Po, it will significantly contribute to our company’s growth, both geographically and technologically, as we continue to invest in the worldwide foodservice, restaurant, and catering market.”

Massimo Aleardi, Sector President of Marmon Restaurant & Catering Technologies, added: “We are excited for Dominioni to join our group. Dominioni has established high standards for quality, reliability, and service. Its products, which also complement Angelo Po’s portfolio, are well regarded in the foodservice industry. Its innovative equipment solutions help meet the growing demand for fresh food while also enabling more efficient production. We look forward to building on Dominioni’s excellent reputation not only throughout Europe, but also globally.”

© 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.

Cornelius Ready to Showcase Concentrated Beer Dispenser Technology

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Cornelius, Inc., the world-leader in beverage dispensing systems, is preparing to showcase its beer dispensing technology that uses beer concentrates that are fully hydrated at the point of dispensing.

Cornelius and Sustainable Beverage Technologies (SBT), a Colorado based developer of concentrated beer technologies, will feature beer being dispensed from concentrate at the 2016 National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago.

SBT has applied its unique BrewVo brewing technology toward developing a portfolio of beers with three craft brewers to create new beers that are concentrated until served from a Cornelius dispenser. The three craft breweries are New Belgium, Crazy Mountain, and Denali.

According to Cornelius, the combination of SBT’s BrewVo technology and Cornelius dispensers will allow these premium craft brewers to share their products with customers in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

Cornelius, Inc., the world-leader in beverage dispensing equipment, was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Group in January 2014.

In November 2015, Cornelius and Sustainable Beverage Technologies announced a strategic partnership to market concentrated beer dispensing solutions to beverage brand owners and foodservice retailers across the globe.

According to SBT, using only traditional brewing ingredients (water, malt, hops, and yeast), SBT’s patented BrewVo technology utilizes a unique process called “Nested Fermentation”, in which brewers manage the fermentation environment where a highly concentrated beer is produced. When the beer concentrate is later mixed with carbonated water, the result says SBT compares to any premium beer on the market.

Pat Tatera, CEO and founder of SBT, said: “It’s exciting to work with world class breweries that provide exceptional craft beers, and also have such strong values towards the environment and sustainability.”

Drinking beer make you environmentally responsible. Now, that’s a message that millions of beer drinker will raise a glass to.

And, if you are too young to drink beer, Cornelius has a concentrated milk dispenser technology as well. In 2015 the company partnered with Dairyvative Technologies, a Wisconsin-based developer of a patented process that allows pasteurized milk to be concentrated to a liquid that has one seventh of its original volume.

To learn more about Dairyvative’s breakthrough concentrated milk technology, read the MazorsEdge Special Report: Breakthrough Aims to Change the Way You Drink Milk.

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 Water Introduces System To Filter Lead From School Drinking Fountains

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

With the Flint water crisis making lead in drinking water front page news, schools across the country are testing their water. They are also looking for measures that can lower drinking water lead contamination for their students.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Water, Inc. has debuted its Safe Fountain System to remove lead and other contaminants from drinking fountains in schools and public/industrial buildings.

The new product line from EcoWater Systems ensures clean, safe, and good tasting water, even in the case of boil water alerts.

Lead and other contaminants in drinking water is an issue nationwide. While much has been said about lead coming from municipal water systems due to old lead pipes in the streets, problems can also exist in homes and buildings built before the early 1990s that used high-content lead in copper piping and lead solder and, to an even greater extent, in pre-1960s homes and buildings where lead pipes were routinely used. Even if a municipality addresses lead problems related to old pipes in the streets, issues may still be present in the home.

Concerns are based on lead’s significant effect on the brain and central nervous system. High lead levels have the greatest impact on fetuses, infants, and children under six years old, potentially causing learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and other medical conditions. In addition, high levels of lead in adults may contribute to medical problems including high blood pressure and diabetes.

According to the company, EcoWater’s new Safe Fountain System uses National Science Foundation-certified lead, bacteria, virus, cyst, and chemical reduction cartridges to ensure the quality of water just before it is consumed from the fountain. Systems come equipped with a range of safety features including real-time Wi-Fi monitoring, automatic shutoff, tamper-proof stainless steel housings, and braided water line connectors, giving users peace of mind. EcoWater’s nationwide network of water treatment professionals monitor usage and perform routine maintenance and cartridge replacement as necessary.

At the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, EcoWater demonstrated its water fountain filtration system.

The company is ready to install the Safe Fountain System this summer in order to have them in place at schools before kids return in the fall.

EcoWater also makes filtration systems that can be installed in school cafeterias, and it has a filtration system that goes in five and ten gallon coolers used by sports teams. The cooler filters are made by EcoWater and sold under the Brita brand through a licensing agreement.

EcoWater also offers NSF-certified microbiological drinking water purification systems as well as a complete line of similarly certified reverse osmosis drinking water systems and a host of other filtration systems for home and/or business applications that also reduce lead and other contaminants from the water supply.

© 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.

UTLX Dramatically Scales Back Tank Car Production

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The collapse in crude oil prices that has shuttered wells in the United States, and lowered oil train traffic for BNSF Railway, is also impacting the Union Tank Car Company (UTLX).

UTLX has announced that it is cutting its production by 50-percent.

The Berkshire Hathaway-owned company will cut 230 jobs in Houston, Texas, and also plans to lay-off employees at its plant in Alexandria, Louisiana, as well.

UTLX has sent a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter to the Texas Workforce Commission notifying it that the tank car facility located on Old Beaumont Highway 90 will be the source of the Texas layoffs.

UTLX will still employ 323 people at the Houston facility after the job cuts are completed in June.

Jeremy DeLacerda, UTLX manufacturing general manager, cited the “current market conditions and the industry-wide demand outlook for railroad tank cars,” as the reason for the lay-offs and production cuts.

“When the economy rebounds and greater demand returns, I look forward to increasing our staffing levels accordingly,” DeLacerda added.

Not the First Time

This is not the first time that UTLX has had to dramatically scale back production due to soft demand.

The UTLX manufacturing facility at England Airpark in Alexandria, Louisiana, endured similar lay-offs in 2006.

“You never want to hear news like this, but it’s not a surprise,” notes Jim Clinton, president and CEO of Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance

“We knew they would have to cut production on some level,” Clinton added. “I’m sure they were hoping it would not be to the extent this apparently is. But the market is what the market is. They’re a good company that’s responding to market conditions.”

© 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.