Category Archives: Minority Stock Positions

BYD Expands Indianapolis Service Center

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD has announced the expansion of North American operations, with the opening of a service center in Indianapolis, Indiana to serve its Midwest customers.

The center will provide quick access to parts, care, and expertise for BYD buses and trucks. Customers near the service center include Indianapolis’ transit agency IndyGo, the Kansas City International Airport, and the City of Columbia, Missouri’s transit agency Go COMO. Customers in the region operate BYD buses ranging in size from the 30-foot K7M to 60-foot K11M, BYD’s largest transit bus model. The center will also serve BYD truck customers as that markets grows.

The service center has three service bays, a parts warehouse, and all the equipment necessary to handle customer after-sales care. The center, staffed by a team of eight employees, is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“BYD wants to make sure our customers get quick, expert care,” said Patrick Duan, BYD Senior Vice President. “BYD is committed to top-quality customer service. We are creating a network of service centers to bring BYD and its customers closer together.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million had grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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’s SkyRail Monorail Proposal for L.A. Gets $64 Million in Funding

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD has received a big boost for its proposed SkyRail monorail for Los Angeles.

In 2019, BYD submitted its SkyRail proposal as one of LA Metro’s four refined concepts for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor. Of the four proposals, BYD’s SkyRail monorail and Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel’s heavy rail have been selected to receive over $60 million in funding each to move to the next stage.

The goal is to create a high-capacity transit line between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside through the Sepulveda Pass that would move some 100,000 people a day off the I-405 Freeway, which is already ranked as one of the most traveled urban highways in the nation.

LA SkyRail Express (LASRE) – a team of leading transportation, construction, engineering, finance, and technology companies including John Laing, Skanska, BYD, Gensler, HDR, ACI and Innova – has been awarded a contract by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project PDA RFP.

With the Metro Board’s approval, Metro and LASRE will enter into a contract for pre-development services in an amount not to exceed $63,605,132. The award of this contract, along with a similar one for Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel’s heavy-rail option, will allow the project’s environmental process to begin, which will include extensive community conversations over the next one-to-two years to help shape the final alignment, technology and station locations.

If ultimately selected as Metro’s preferred team and technology, LASRE intends to link the historically underserved San Fernando Valley to the Westside and LAX transportation and education hubs, including options to connect directly with UCLA, with innovative, high-speed, high-capacity service.

“We are delighted to have reached this significant final stage of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project selection process. The LA SkyRail Express proposal from the Valley to the Westside and the Alternative Proposal for the entire corridor to LAX, including the direct connect alternative that we developed through an 18-month workshop process with UCLA, are estimated to fit well within the Measure M budget, with LA SkyRail Express costing a fraction of the subway alternative,” said Anthony Phillips, Co-Head of PPP and Greenfield Projects at infrastructure investor John Laing.

“SkyRail is the advanced, high speed, high-capacity monorail system that incorporates advances that have been made in monorail technology through urban applications in many of the world’s largest cities over the past 60 years. SkyRail is designed to maximize safety and energy efficiency. Equally as important, LA SkyRail Express can help alleviate the chronic congestion Valley and Westside residents have faced for decades. We are hopeful about progressing to the next stage of the bid process and proud to play our part supporting one of the most consequential infrastructure projects in Los Angeles’s history. The LA SkyRail Express team looks forward to the next stage of the selection process with great optimism and integrity.”

LASRE’s vision is to develop a transformative link in LA County, increasing mobility and transportation accessibility for those with few options. The natural barrier created by the Santa Monica Mountains has long caused some of the worst auto congestion in the country. LASRE’s solution will provide a technically and financially viable alternative to the I-405, providing safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable transportation between the San Fernando Valley and Westside within Metro’s allotted budget.

Our mission is to provide direct, efficient connections throughout the corridor, not only to Metro’s bus and transit network, but also to major mixed-use centers along the route, such as UCLA, the Westside, and the South Bay area surrounding LAX, as well as LAX itself.

“Addressing Los Angeles’ chronic traffic congestion will take an innovative solution that will finally link the region’s existing east-west lines, and that’s exactly what the LA SkyRail Express team can deliver,” stated Denny Zane, executive director of Move LA. “Unlike other options, it won’t take decades for LASRE’s potentially transformative technology to connect the San Fernando Valley to the Westside and UCLA, and to LAX to create an integrated transportation system at far less cost, something our City desperately needs.”

In 2017, BYD launched its first commercial SkyRail line in Yinchuan, capital of Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. In April 2020, the company signed a deal to build a monorail for São Paulo, Brazil. The SkyRail will be for the Line 17 (Gold Line) project.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million had grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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’s K8M 35-Foot Electric Bus Sets New High Score on FTA Bus Reliability Test

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD (Build Your Dreams) has announced that its American-built and all-new K8M, a 35-foot zero-emission public transit bus, set a high scoring record in the Federal Transit Administration Model Bus Testing Program in Altoona, Pa.

The K8M record-setting performance included high marks in structural durability, reliability, maintainability, and safety. As a result, U.S. transit agencies can confidently use FTA funding to buy the K8M.

“We set a new benchmark and record for the entire American electric bus industry,” said Patrick Duan, BYD North America Senior Vice President. “The Altoona test results prove the K8M will give our customers the best reliability and lowest maintenance costs they deserve and demand. I’m very proud of our team, and I’m extremely happy that our customers will benefit when they deploy the top bus in its class.”

The innovative K8M, a state-of-the-art transit bus, is 35-foot in length and can seat up to 33 passengers. The highly reliable and safe K8M electric bus is equipped with up to 435kWh LFP battery and can be fully charged within 3 hours.

The popular BYD 35-foot electric bus is already in revenue service with several agencies across America, including LINK Transit in Wenatchee, Washington; Macon-Bibb County Transit Authority in Georgia, Baton Rouge’s Capital Area Transit System; the Vineyard Transit Authority of Massachusetts resort community of Martha’s Vineyard; the Regional Transit Authority of Central Maryland; and California’s Fresno County Rural Transit Agency.

BYD now offers four low-floor transit buses with Altoona certification with the K8M joining the 30-foot K7M, the 40-foot K9M, and the 60-foot articulated K11M. All of BYD’s zero-emission buses not only meet, but also exceed FTA Buy America requirements, incorporating more than 70% U.S. content.

BYD is the first battery-electric bus manufacturer that has both a unionized workforce and a Community Benefits Agreement, which sets goals for hiring veterans, single parents, second-chance citizens, and others facing hurdles in obtaining manufacturing employment. In addition, in partnership with SMART Local 105 and Antelope Valley College, BYD set up an apprenticeship program, improving production quality and efficiency and giving employees valuable skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

BYD offers the widest range of battery-electric bus and coach models in the United States, ranging from 23-foot motor coaches on up to the 60-foot K11M and 45-foot double-decker C10MS.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million had grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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-Backed BYD Receives Bus Order From DB Regio Bus

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BYD, the world’s leading electric bus manufacturer, has secured its first order from DB Regio Bus, the national bus transport division of one of Germany’s largest transport operators, Deutsche Bahn.

The order is for BYD’s latest generation 12-meter eBus model, equipped with a host of new technical innovations.

In a significant move, BYD and Deutsche Bahn have together signed a framework agreement paving the way for further BYD eBus orders in 2021.

Initially, a total of five pure-electric, emissions-free 12-meter BYD eBuses will enter service with DB Regio Bus later this year in Ettlingen, in the federal state of Baden-Württemburg. It is the second delivery of BYD electric buses in Germany after 22 vehicles were handed over in October 2020 to Public Transport Operators (PTOs) in Gelsenkirchen and Bochum.

Despite restrictions still in place following the coronavirus pandemic, BYD continues to meet its build and delivery schedules for Local Authority and PTO customers right across Europe.

The order from DB Regio Bus is also the first for BYD’s latest generation 12-meter, low-floor eBus model.

Launched at Busworld in 2019, the new, enhanced model features a host of upgrades including an all-new air-conditioning system, a ‘6-in-1’ controller which integrates the vehicle’s principle electronic components, a larger capacity 422 kWh battery capacity, and BYD’s FleetLink vehicle monitoring system to provide PTO’s with a highly effective fleet management tool. From an interior and exterior design perspective, BYD’s iF award-winning ‘Home from Home’ concept combines a dynamic visual aesthetic with high levels of safety and comfort to deliver a complete sense of well-being for passengers.

“This important order is indicative of the confidence that Deutsche Bahn places in our best-selling, and latest generation, 12-metre product,” said BYD Europe Managing Director, Isbrand Ho, “which has also been rubberstamped by the framework agreement for the supply of eBuses later this year. Moreover, the order from such a high profile Public Transport Operator is acceptance of the BYD marque generally in the German bus market. We are a supplier of total eMobility solutions,” he said, “and our ability to form strong partnerships with Local Authorities and PTOs will mean, I believe, that we’ll see more and more BYD eBuses in towns and cities throughout Germany.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million had grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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 Tests Autonomous Driving Bus at Haneda Airport in Japan

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD Co. has debuted its first autonomous driving bus.

The bus is being tested in actual scenarios for All Nippon Airways at the Haneda Airport in Japan, and the airport becomes the country’s first international airport to conduct a pilot operation for an autonomous bus.

The test uses BYD’s K9 bus, which can carry up to 57 people.

During this trial operation, the airport staff will do near to Level 3 autonomous driving tests on the bus in a specific area of the airport to collect essential data to help the developers better improve the autonomous driving functions and improve the vehicle’s operating efficiency in the future.

Jointly carried out by BYD, ANA, BOLDLY, and Advanced Smart Mobility, the project has been conducted three rounds of tests from 2018 to 2020.

ANA plans to put the bus into trial operation in 2021 and implement the autonomous driving bus into a daily operation to fully achieve its goal to build a “Simple & Smart” airport by 2025.

“BYD is very honored to join hands with ANA to carry out this comprehensive autonomous driving test trial at the Haneda Airport,” Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division, said. “I firmly believe that this four-party cooperation will set an excellent example for a smart and environmentally friendly airport of Japan to give people a smarter, safer, and cleaner travel experience in the future.”

“At ANA, we are constantly looking for ways to harness the latest technology to enhance operations and efficiency,” said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA. “In addition to marking a significant step forward for airports, fully electric autonomous buses will result in fewer emissions and decreased carbon footprints at airports. We are optimistic that these trials will give us the information we need to continue improving these technologies and will allow ANA to maintain its leadership in autonomous innovation.”

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million has grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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-Backed BYD Offers Federal Grant Application Help to Transit Systems

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD is offering help to transit systems in accessing the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program.

The Federal Transit Administration recently announced $180 million will be available through its competitive Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program.

The Low-No program exists to support the nation’s transition to energy-efficient vehicles such as those manufactured in BYD’s Lancaster, California plant. And Low-No funding can be used to purchase and/or lease BYD’s full line of zero-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of supporting charging facilities.

“We’re proud to have helped secure over $10 million for our customers through last year’s Low-No grant program,” said BYD North America Senior Vice President Patrick Duan. “Having experts with a successful track record to assist transit agencies can make all the difference with these competitive grants.”

BYD can provide various electric bus models, infrastructure, and technology to help communities transition to zero-emission buses.

BYD bus and motor coach models meet all Buy America and FMVSS Rolling Stock requirements. BYD’s bus and motor coach models range from 23 feet to 60 feet in length including our two double-decker options.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million has grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.

New Mexico officials Choose Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD to Participate in a Statewide Purchase Agreement

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

New Mexico officials have chosen Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD Co. to participate in a statewide purchase agreement that gives transit agencies throughout New Mexico and the United States the ability to buy American-made BYD coaches and buses.

The vehicles, which comply with strict Buy America standards, are manufactured in ISO 9001-certified American factory, guaranteeing quality, safety, and efficiency in every aspect of design, production, and customer care.

“This contract is a big win for transit agencies looking for reliable zero-emission technology that will help them meet their sustainability goals while reducing maintenance,” said Patrick Duan, BYD North America Senior Vice President. “BYD is the first battery-electric bus manufacturer that has both a unionized workforce and a Community Benefits Agreement, which sets goals for hiring veterans, single parents, second chance citizens, and others facing hurdles in obtaining manufacturing employment.”

Buses included in the agreement are the 30-foot K7M, the 35-foot K8M, the 40-foot K9M, and the 60-foot K11M, the first articulated bus to successfully complete the new “Pass/Fail” protocol at the Federal Transit Administration Model Bus Testing Program in Altoona, Pa. Motor coaches included in the agreement are the 23-foot C6M, 40-foot C9M, and 45-foot C10M.

BYD buses have achieved more than 15 million emission-free miles in revenue service throughout the United States. There are more than 1,000 BYD battery-electric buses built or ordered for U.S. customers. Every American-built zero-emission BYD bus eliminates approximately 1,690 tons of CO2 over its 12-year lifespan, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This purchasing agreement is available to any recipient or sub-recipient of Federal Transit Administration funding, regardless of geographic location. The contract is for one year with three one-year options.

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 over thirty-five-fold.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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: Is Berkshire Hathaway Moving Closer to Acquiring DaVita?

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Is DaVita Inc. (DVA) an acquisition target for Berkshire Hathaway? It is no secret that the Berkshire has long held a stake in the kidney dialysis provider.

Berkshire’s stake in DaVita goes back to 2012, when it began buying a million shares a month.

Why DaVita?

DaVita, which has over 200,000 daily dialysis clients in the U.S. and ten other countries, is the kind of predictable, steady business that Warren Buffett covets.

What is New?

Back in 2013, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to standstill agreement whereby it would not increase its stake in DaVita beyond 25%. However, in recent years its stake has crossed the 30% threshold, with Berkshire revealing on February 16, 2021, that it had boosted its position to a 33% stake.

Could Berkshire’s increased stake in DaVita be the prelude to an acquisition? That’s the question that both Berkshire and DaVita investors may start asking.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.

Warren Buffett’s Bet on Japan’s Trading Companies Pays Off

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Warren Buffett’s bet on Japan’s leading trading companies is paying off handsomely as the Nikkei 225 surpassed 30,000 on Monday for the first time in almost 31 years.

Berkshire Hathaway’s purchase of just over 5% of Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., and Sumitomo Corp., were bought on the open market in 2020, and were first revealed in August 2020.

All the companies have moved up sharply over the past six months, with shares of Itochu Corp. up 27%, Marubeni Corp. up 29%, Mitsubishi Corp. up 25%, Mitsui & Co. 16%, and Sumitomo Corp. up 20%.

The combined stake was worth roughly $6.5 billion when it was announced on August 31, 2020.

The shares were purchased by Berkshire Hathaway’s wholly-owned National Indemnity Company, and the company said at the time that the intention was to hold its Japanese investments for the long term. Berkshire also disclosed that it may increase its holdings up to a maximum of 9.9% in any of the five investments.

The investment is not vulnerable to currency fluctuations, as Berkshire Hathaway has 625.5 billion of yen-denominated bonds outstanding, maturing at various dates beginning in 2023 and ending in 2060. Consequently, the company has only minor exposure to yen/dollar movements.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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’s Buses to Feed Power Back Into London’s Grid

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Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD, the world’s leading electric bus manufacturer, is gearing up for the switching-on of the world’s first high-power discharge Bus2Grid project at Go-Ahead London’s Northumberland Park bus depot.

Using “Vehicle-2-Grid,” or V2G, technology the project will demonstrate the ability to use energy stored aboard a BYD ADL battery-electric bus to be fed back into London’s power network. Vehicles are recharged overnight when energy demand is low, and tariffs cheaper, with electricity fed back to the grid when demand is high, thus helping to balance the network and increase efficiency.

BYD UK, through its partnership with Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL), is supplying 28 BYD ADL Enviro 400EV double deck eBuses which, using smart technology, will provide bi-directional charging capable of feeding energy back to the power grid.

The project represents a notable contribution from the bus sector towards the UK government’s commitment to deliver “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

With its world-class battery, motor and core technology expertise, BYD has been instrumental in the project from the outset by delivering a total battery-electric bus management solution. Alongside its partners, BYD is the first company in the commercial vehicle sector to provide high-power discharge technology as a V2G capability for electric buses.

The Bus2Grid consortium is led by energy provider SSE Enterprise in partnership with BYD Europe, UK Power Networks and Leeds University. Funding for the project comes from the UK government through its delivery partner, Innovate UK. Further support comes from technology provider, Origami and Transport for London. This consortium has seen excellent cooperation between the automotive industry, the energy community and academia in bringing forth pioneering V2G technology into public transport.

Go-Ahead London’s 28 V2G battery-electric buses from BYD ADL will be part of a total fleet of 120 electric vehicles at what is set to become UK’s largest electric bus garage with overnight charging capability at Northumberland Park. While current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions prevent the setting of a specific “switch on” date, the Bus2Grid project is nonetheless gearing-up for operations to commence in the summer 2021.

BYD, in partnership with Alexander Dennis Ltd. (ADL), is also a leading player in the UK electric bus market. ADL is a subsidiary of leading independent global bus manufacturer, the NFI Group Inc. The 28 BYD ADL double decks for the Bus2Grid project are part of a larger fleet order from Go-Ahead London delivered in 2020 comprising 49 Enviro 400EV double decks. There are now in excess of 500 BYD ADL pure-electric buses either delivered or on order with operators across the UK, to date clocking-up over 16 million emission-free miles since 2015.

“We share a vision with our project partners to deliver a cleaner, sustainable future,” said BYD UK Managing Director, Frank Thorpe, “we have a common goal to realize the full potential of eMobility. Soon, we will be actually generating energy for London’s power grid, as well as delivering safe, clean, emissions-free public transport to the nation’s capital. We’re very proud to be part of the project team and to be supporting Go-Ahead London as it begins the V2G project. “This Bus2Grid project also has huge potential elsewhere in the UK,” he said, “it is a movable energy storage system with the capacity to deliver significant quantities of electricity to help balance a city’s power grid and optimize its energy management system.”

Kevin Welstead, EV Sector Director for SSE Enterprise, said: “If we’re going to make real progress in decarbonising transport and hitting climate change targets, we need to optimise the existing flexibility within the energy system.”

“Developing a charging infrastructure that operates in two directions so that batteries can give back as well as take from the grid is an important part of this. Delivering the Bus2Grid project is the next natural step in using smart technology to make bidirectional charging the reality for today’s bus users.”

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 over thirty-five-fold.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.