MidAmerican Energy Piloting Battery Storage for Its Wind Turbines

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Iowa is quickly becoming the state powered by wind, but the only problem is when the wind isn’t blowing.

Now, that problem is one step closer to a solution, as Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy is testing a commercial battery storage system with the capability of powering 900 homes for four hours.

The system is being built by Chicago-based Invenergy, one of the earliest pioneers in advanced energy storage and North America’s leading owner and operator of the transformative technology.

Invenergy specializes in large-scale advanced battery systems that instantaneously absorb and inject energy to help with grid management, while minimizing infrastructure costs. Large-scale batteries support grid reliability by regulating frequency and balancing variations in wind and solar production.

The lithium-iron phosphate system is planned to be in service by the end of December, and will be housed at a Knoxville, Iowa substation.

If the project is successful, it may see broader application storing power for MidAmerican’s thousands of wind turbines that are transforming Iowa into an alternative energy success story.

© 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 HomeServices Laffey International Realty Merges with Pugatch Realty Corp.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Laffey International Realty has merged with Pugatch Realty Corp. of Woodmere, New York.

The union gives Laffey International Realty – a North Shore luxury real estate leader – access to the expansive South Shore marketplace and The Five Towns.

Pugatch Realty Brokers Barry Pugatch and Susan Pugatch have joined Long Island, New York-based Laffey International Realty executive team – including Emmett Laffey, Gregory Berkowitz and John Schoonmaker – as managing partners. They bring with them more than 30 seasoned agents and a loyal following of clients.

“We are elated to join forces with Barry, Susan and their fine team,” said Emmett Laffey, president and CEO of Laffey International Realty. “The brokerage is highly respected in the South Shore marketplace and is known for great service and extensive market expertise. Strategically, our union extends Laffey International Realty’s reach on Long Island. We’re excited to serve the South Shore and The Five Towns.”

Barry Pugatch, a real estate veteran whose local influence dates to 1969, said the merger will benefit real estate consumers. “This is great news for home buyers and sellers in The Five Towns,” he said. “Pugatch Realty remains the same great team that has served the market since 1991 and is backed by Laffey International Realty and the powerful Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand. Our agents now have access to the industry’s best tools and resources, which will help them provide even better service with greater efficiency.”

Berkowitz said the union is an ideal match of real estate strategy and philosophy. “I met Barry Pugatch more than 15 years ago and knew at that time we had to one day join forces,” he explained. “That day is now a reality and we’re ready to move forward and serve all of Long Island.”

Laffey International Realty is a perennial leader in the North Shore’s bustling luxury market. It tops the market in key sales categories such as per-agent productivity and per-office productivity as its new-homes division and ultra-luxury and waterfront property sales operations continue growing.

Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded the merger.

“Long Island’s finest real estate operators have come together to form a super brokerage,” Blefari said. “Laffey International Realty has it all, starting with service, expertise and integrity. We’re proud to support the brokerage and its outstanding agents as they grow and thrive.”

© 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.

Italian Eatery Coming to Grandscape

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Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, a Chicago-based restaurant that is ranked in the top 100 highest-grossing independent restaurants nation-wide, is coming to Berkshire Hathaway’s The Colony’s Grandscape development sometime in 2020.

Quartino is owned by Gibson Restaurant Group, which has four restaurants in the 100 top-grossing independent restaurants in the U.S.

The restaurant is described as an Italian restaurant and wine bar offering authentic regional Italian food and wine in a lively, welcoming atmosphere.

The addition comes as Berkshire Hathaway continues to build out Grandscape, its 400+ acre Dallas-area development that features over 3 million square feet of retail, entertainment, dining, residential, office and attractions.

The commercial development is anchored by Berkshire’s Nebraska Furniture Mart, which alone takes up 100 acres and has a 560,000 square foot retail showroom.

Grandscape continues to use the bigger is better philosophy.

© 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.

Kraft Heinz to Acquire Primal Kitchen

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The Kraft Heinz Company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Primal Nutrition, LLC,

Founded by Mark Sisson and Morgan Buehler, Primal Kitchen is a young, vibrant, better-for-you brand primarily focused on Condiments, Sauces and Dressings including Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings and Avocado Oil, with growing product lines in Healthy Snacks and other categories.

The brand holds leading positions in both e-commerce and natural channels, and is expected to generate approximately $50 million in net sales this year.

Primal Kitchen will join Kraft Heinz under Springboard, which is Kraft Heinz’s dynamic platform created to partner with founders and brands that will disrupt the food industry. The combination of Primal Kitchen and Springboard will help to realize Mark Sisson’s vision to change the way the world eats.

Primal Kitchen will leverage Kraft Heinz’s assets and infrastructure, while still operating as an autonomous company. Primal Kitchen will continue to be led by its current leadership team. Its headquarters will remain in Oxnard, California.

“The proposed partnership with Primal Kitchen is consistent with Kraft Heinz’s vision to be the best food company, growing a better world. The Primal Kitchen team has built an amazing portfolio of the world’s best-tasting, health-enhancing, real-food pantry staples,” said Paulo Basilio, U.S. Zone President for Kraft Heinz. “Primal Kitchen is an authentic, premium and growing brand that fits perfectly with our core Condiments & Sauces categories, and we are excited to partner with the Company’s strong existing team to drive growth across multiple categories going forward.”

Mark Sisson, Co-Founder of Primal Kitchen said, “My mission has always been to change the way the world eats. With that goal in mind, Primal Kitchen launched in 2015 to offer health-conscious consumers the best possible choices in Condiments, Sauces, Dressings and Healthy Snacks. While our growth to date has exceeded all industry standards and expectations, our partnership with an industry leader like Kraft Heinz now offers an unrivaled opportunity to reach millions more of the consumers who have been seeking products like ours for years. Based on the significant time I’ve spent with the Kraft Heinz team, we share a common vision regarding the future of food and the importance of consumer choices. I look forward to working with them to grow this amazing brand.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in early 2019. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

© 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.

Pilot Flying J Acquires Wellsite Services Company

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Berkshire Hathaway’s newest acquisition, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, Pilot Flying J, has announced that it has taken an equity interest in Equipment Transport, LLC, a wellsite services company.

In addition to its travel center business, Pilot Flying J runs the fourth-largest tanker fleet in the U.S.

Pilot’s subsidiary, PDPS LLC, which does business under the name PWT, announced the purchase of equity interests in Equipment Transport, LLC from CIVC Partners, LP.

The acquisition is one of many strategic partnerships made by Pilot Flying J this year to extend its core logistics business and grow its service offerings in the exploration and production sector.

“ET is an exceptional wellsite services platform with a strong reputation for outstanding customer service,” said Shameek Konar, chief strategy officer at Pilot Flying J. “Incorporating ET into our Oil Field Logistics platform provides comprehensive, reliable and cost-effective logistical solutions to the Oil and Gas industry. With Pilot Flying J’s fleet size, safety record, balance sheet and geographic reach across all major oil and gas basins, we hope to enhance ET’s ability to grow its customer base across multiple basins.”

CEO and founder Dave Florance and the rest of ET’s management team will continue to lead the Company as it serves its customers as a one-stop provider of reliable, safe and fully compliant services.

ET, founded in 2007, is a Carlisle, PA-based provider of critical services supporting the drilling, completions, and production programs of exploration and production companies. The Company brings significant value to its customers in the Marcellus and Utica Shales and the Permian Basin through a broad service offering that includes fluid transportation, waste management, and ancillary pad support services. Collectively, ET serves its more than 70 customers through six locations with a highly trained workforce of over 500 employees.

“Since its founding, Dave Florance and the ET management team have grown the business into a best-in-class provider of critical wellsite services, while outperforming the broader oilfield services industry and delivering exceptional organic growth,” said Keith Yamada, partner at CIVC. “We have built a strong partnership over the last six-plus years and know we’ve found the right partner in Pilot Flying J to continue to support ET’s future expansion.”

In June of this year, Pilot Flying J entered into a JV with Produced Water Transfer LLC to form PDPS, operating under the name PWT, and in July acquired Bridger Environmental Services LLC a water disposal platform and the crude transportation assets of Bridger Transportation.

Today, Pilot Flying J and its subsidiaries operate more than 500 trucks and a dozen saltwater disposal wells, providing logistics and disposal services to customers in the Permian, Eagle Ford, Marcellus and Haynesville shales as well as in Wyoming and Utah.

In October 2017, Berkshire Hathaway made a $2.76 billion investment in Pilot Travel Centers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire will become the majority owner in five years.

© 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.

BYD Making Major Strides in Brazil

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BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, is making major strides in Brazil.

BYD Americas CEO Stella Li met recently with São Palo Mayor Bruno Covas at the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles to discuss zero-emission mobility in one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

Projects in progress across Brazil, include a fleet of 200 electric refuse trucks in Indaiatuba, and a $689 million monorail system in Salvador.

The company is also building a solar panel manufacturing facility in the city of Campinas.

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.

© 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.

Pilot Flying J Announces 3rd Quarter Highlights

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As Pilot Flying J approaches its 60th anniversary, the travel center operator is celebrating the milestones of its most recent quarter.

During the third quarter of 2018, the Knoxville-based company opened six new locations in the United States and Canada, expanded in four states, paved the way for 250-plus new parking spaces, created 200-plus new jobs, opened 35 more diesel lanes and added 18 more showers.

The travel center company completed three locations under its Facility Enhancement Project, its commitment to investing nearly $500 million to renovate existing locations over the next five years.

The latest project completions occurred at:
• Pilot Travel Center in Marengo, Ohio — completed Aug. 22
• Pilot Travel Center in Van Horn, Texas — completed Sept. 7
• Pilot Travel Center in Orla, Texas — completed Sept. 10

The retailer also accrued a number of new store openings across the U.S. and Canada. Two Pilot Travel Centers opened Aug. 25 in Bartow, Fla., and Odessa, Texas, respectively; and one Flying J Travel Center opened Sept. 22 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

In addition, Pilot Flying J took over and completed remodels at three travel centers: Pilot Travel Center in St. Rose, La., on Sept. 8; Pilot Express in Tucson, Ariz., on Aug. 24; and Pilot Travel Center in Cordes Lake, Ariz., on Sept. 7.

As of September, Pilot Flying J had 17 service centers, with another three service center locations planned to open by the end of this year in El Paso, Texas; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Lake Township, Ohio.

The combined network of more than 750 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across North America serves more than 1.6 million customers daily.

In October 2017, Berkshire Hathaway made a $2.76 billion investment in Pilot Travel Centers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire will become the majority owner in five years.

© 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.

BYD Shelves Planned Canadian Assembly Plant

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China’s BYD (Build Your Dreams) has scrapped its planned truck manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

BYD’s Ted Dowling, Vice President of BYD Canada, was quoted as saying that the plant doesn’t currently make sense for the company.

As to whether it will ever be revisited, “When the business case makes sense, we’ll do it,” Dowling noted.

In December 2017, BYD announced that they would build the assembly plant. “BYD is working on many significant orders that will bring final assembly to the province,” said a statement at that time.

No specific reason has been given for the change in plans.

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.

© 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.

Johns Manville Completes TPO Product Line Expansion

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Johns Manville has completed its TPO product line expansion project in Scottsboro, Ala., to manufacture 12-foot-wide TPO roofing sheets.

“We are proud of the performance with our TPO product line,” said Joe Smith, president of Roofing Systems at Johns Manville. “Our Scottsboro manufacturing facility plays a vital role in ensuring product availability for our North American customers. This second production line increases capacity and our ability to develop products to meet the needs of commercial roofing contractors and distributors.”

TPO is the fastest growing commercial roofing membrane in the U.S. Now, JM can offer 12-foot sheets and 6-foot sheets. The new production gives contractors working on commercial roofing projects more choices to meet their project needs.

“Our goal is always to offer best-in-class products to our customers and to meet their growing business needs,” said Jennifer Ford-Smith, director of sales for JM Roofing Systems. “The 12-foot-wide TPO is a product that many customers have wanted to buy from JM. We are delighted to add the wider sheet to our broad portfolio of roofing products.”

The expansion project to add a second production line will create more than 25 new jobs in Scottsboro. JM expects more jobs will be added in the coming years.

“This plant has been a dynamic part of the Scottsboro community since 2008,” said Jeff Maxson, group plant manager-single ply for JM Roofing Systems. “A larger workforce means we have more opportunity to participate in state and local community activities. We have long enjoyed supporting local food banks, the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life and other important organizations in the community.”

JM’s 12-foot-wide TPO product will be available in all thicknesses – 45, 60 and 80 mils. The new, wider product became available in early July and is at distribution facilities across the country including Scottsboro, Ala.; Rockdale, Ill.; Hazelton, Penn.; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Tracy, Calif.

© 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.

BYD Electric Buses Coming to Denmark

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BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, has received it’s first order for pure electric buses in Denmark.

The order for 27 of BYD’s 12 metre pure electric buses will run in Denkark’s capital, Copenhagen.

The order was received from Danish Bus company, Anchersen, which serves 19 of Movia’s routes in Copenhagen.

The BYD buses will begin operating at the end of 2019 on routes from the north to the south of Copenhagen city, between Emdrup Torv and Lergravsparken.

“Our company is showing that we are ready for the latest developments,” Søren Englund, COO at Anchersen, said. “We are now at the forefront of the transformation of the public transportation environment to zero emission electric power. Our goal is to have the same reliability with the new electric buses as with our current diesel buses. We have entered into an agreement with BYD because thorough investigation has shown us that BYD can meet the demands we and Movia have for the bus of the future.”

“We are pleased to enter the Danish market and participate in the first phase of the transition towards better green public transport,” Isbrand Ho, Managing Director at BYD Europe, said. “With the deployment of our electric buses, the first step has been taken in replacing the diesel buses in Copenhagen. We are looking forward to a successful cooperation with Anchersen A/S, which will be our first partner in Denmark.”

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.

© 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.