Berkshire Hathaway’s Utilities Saved $26.63 Million in Q4 2018 Thanks to EIM

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Two of Berkshire Hathaway’s utilities, PacifiCorp and NV Energy, saved a combined $26.63 million so far this year through the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has released its western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) 2018 first-quarter benefits report that shows total savings have reached $330.52 million since the market’s launch in November 2014.

The benefits for October, November and December reached $62.57 million for the eight participating members, and the gross benefits for Berkshire’s NV Energy was $4.95 million and PacifiCorp was $$21.68 million.

The western EIM platform automatically finds and delivers low-cost energy to serve consumers in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Optimizing diverse resources from a large geographic area enables more effective use of carbon-free generation besides reducing costs.

The Western EIM continued in the fourth quarter to help displace less clean energy supplies by using 23,425 megawatt-hours of surplus renewable energy that otherwise would have been curtailed.

Since the end of 2014, the effective use of carbon free generation from the market has amounted to reducing a gross of 324,284 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of removing the emissions of 68,179 passenger cars driven for one year.

Looking forward, the market will continue to grow with the planned addition of six entities.

The Balancing Authority of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District is set to begin participation in April 2019. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Salt River Project, and Seattle City Light will follow in April 2020. The Public Service Company of New Mexico and NorthWestern Energy will participate in the market starting April 2021.

© 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.of future results.

Mouser Electronics Inks Distribution Agreement with Monnit Corp.

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Mouser Electronics, Inc. has announced a global distribution agreement with Monnit Corp.

Mouser now stocks Monnit’s wireless sensors, gateways and Internet of Things (IoT).

“We are dedicated to enhancing product availability and support for our customers around the globe,” said Nick Mecham, VP of Business Development at Monnit. “Mouser has 23 locations around the world to provide best-in-class customer service. They ship to over 600,000 customers in 220 countries. We welcome them aboard.”

Monnit® ALTA® wireless sensors are an ecosystem of more than 60 sensor types that detect changes in a wide range of variables such as temperature, water presence, door position or electrical current. Monnit’s ALTA series devices offer an exceptional range of over 1,200 feet (non-line-of-sight) through more than 12 walls, plus Monnit Encrypt-RF® integrated security and onboard data memory. Extremely power efficient, ALTA sensors last over 12 years on 2 AA batteries.

Monnit Ethernet and cellular gateways allow Monnit wireless sensors to communicate with the iMonnit® cloud. The globally supported devices use an internet or cellular connection to connect with Monnit’s online servers, making deployment possible with or without an existing internet connection. Graphical iMonnit software streamlines network configuration, data viewing and alert configuration (SMS text, email or voice). iMonnit is available online or via free app.

Monnit Internet of Things Starter Kits feature enterprise-grade hardware and software to address the need for reliable IoT solutions. IoT Starter Kits include everything needed to begin monitoring for a variety of applications including facilities, agricultural areas, corporate properties, commercial refrigeration, HVAC systems and server rooms.

© 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.

Hawksearch Powers Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Online Ecommerce

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Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture retail chain Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) is using Hawksearch, a site search platform that utilizes advanced machine learning and pattern analysis to deliver the best search experience for website visitors.

NFM needed a search and merchandising engine that could support their online ecommerce growth.

Choosing the platform-agnostic Hawksearch tool, the new NFM website includes:

• A powerful search tool that customizes the site search experience
• Large number of filters available for NFM’s wide assortment of products
• Ability to support region based pricing and availability for their stores
• Ability to build and merchandise product landing pages
• Specific SEO requirements in terms of filters and landing pages so they have the ability to rank their landing pages for long tail searches
• Ability to build dynamic widgets that are capable of returning:
o Top Brands
o Top Products
o Top Categories
• Sync functionality that allows merchandisers to preview and test their changes before publishing them to production
• Ability to leverage the search tool in each store on tablets that NFM sales representatives use

NFM utilizes Hawksearch in very unique ways. The entire content on their site, from the homepage to the product detail page, is driven using Hawksearch Merchandising features. Hawksearch allows NFM to tailor the content displayed on the website, depending on the region and other factors about their users. The new site has an extremely clean filter design and includes an intuitive website experience that allows visitors to easily find the products they’re interested in.

Hawksearch CTO Shreyas Kamath said, “We’re proud to provide the powerful Hawksearch tool to Nebraska Furniture Mart. We’re continuously looking to further streamline the site search experience for our customers in order to increase their conversions and sales, allowing for a truly remarkable and productive user experience.”

NFM is one of the largest home furnishing stores in North America selling furniture, flooring, appliances and electronics. They were founded in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska and acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1983. Nebraska Furniture Mart has locations in Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, and Dallas.

© 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.

Kraft Heinz Sells Off Indian Brands

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The Kraft Heinz Company completed the sale of Indian brands Complan, Glucon-D, Nycil and Sampriti to Zydus Wellness Limited and its affiliates.

“The sale of this niche business fits into our overall global growth strategy and our focus on investing in and growing brands within our core categories, and where we see a clear path to sustainable competitive advantage,” said Bernardo Hees, Chief Executive Officer of Kraft Heinz.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kraft Heinz sold to Zydus Wellness Limited and an affiliate 100% of its equity shares in Heinz India Private Limited, which is comprised of Complan, Glucon-D, Nycil and Sampriti brands, and two manufacturing facilities, with approximately 760 employees associated with these brands and operations.

© 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 HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty of Key West Acquires Market Leading Brokerage in Marathon & Lower Florida Keys

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty has acquired a Middle Keys brokerage formerly operated as Christie’s-affiliated American Caribbean Real Estate of the Middle & Lower Keys.

The latter now operates as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Keys Real Estate.

Through the union, Knight & Gardner Realty gains a market-leading brokerage, 24 seasoned agents and access to the vibrant Lower and Middle Keys markets. Ginger Henderson, 35-year owner of the brokerage operating as American Caribbean Real Estate of the Middle & Lower Keys, will remain with Keys Real Estate as an agent and mentor to the group.

“We are thrilled to join forces with one of the most respected brokerages in the Florida Keys,” said Will Langley, president of Knight & Gardner Realty and Keys Real Estate. “Ginger and her team are highly regarded in the region for their skill, integrity and expertise in resort and high-end property. We’re proud they will represent our growing brokerage family and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.”

Henderson, who wanted to focus more on her sizeable book of business in the region, sought an acquisition that would bring her agents a respected brand and suite of tools and resources to help them grow their businesses.

“I spoke to many suitors,” she explained. “For me, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty was the obvious choice. The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand carries the name of one of the world’s most trusted and respected corporations, and Knight & Gardner Realty is the top-rated brokerage in the Florida Keys. Together, we’ll sell a lot of real estate and satisfy many more clients.”

With their network membership, Keys Real Estate agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. The network also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded the merger. “The combination of Knight & Gardner Realty and Keys Real Estate will dominate the Florida Keys for years to come,” he said. “We’re eager to support this growing brokerage family every step of the way.”

© 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.

Intero Opens Office in Reno, Nevada

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Intero, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire’s HomeServices of America, Inc., has opened its newest location in Reno, Nevada.

Situated about five miles from Downtown, the new Reno office, located at 5470 Kietzke Lane, is owned and operated by the motivated and detail-oriented Denise Hallerbach.

This is Denise’s second stint with Intero, having had a franchise operation from 2014 to 2016.

Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Stanford University, and a Master of Arts Degree in Communicative Disorders from University of the Pacific. Prior to her 9-year career in real estate, she treated stroke and head-injured patients as a medical Speech-Language Pathologist. While attending Stanford, she was a member of the Stanford Women’s Volleyball Team, winning 2 NCAA National Championships with her teammates.

“We are thrilled to be back,” said Denise Hallerbach, Intero Reno Broker & Owner. “Bringing Intero back to the Greater Reno area is not only exciting for us, but also benefits our community as they experience the highest level of service coupled with the exceptional brand Intero embodies.”

Joining Denise in the new Reno location is Robert Skinner, a 14-year veteran of the residential and commercial real industry. Robert has a wealth of knowledge and experience in sales, leasing and real estate development. He earned a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation in 2007 and is an expert in the commercial and the investment real estate industry.

“The entire Intero Family is excited to have Denise and Robert lay the foundation for the Intero Reno office,” said Tom Tognoli, Intero President & Chief Executive Officer. “We know with their work ethic, connections and drive, success will be a foregone conclusion.”

© 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 on a Roll with 50,000 Electric Buses

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BYD (Build Your Dreams), a world leader and pioneer in battery and zero-emission vehicles, has hit a remarkable figure in its quest to get the world of buses to change from the soot-belching, diesel polluters of yore, to a vehicle that’s on the forefront of environmentally sound transportation.

BYD reached has a new milestone with the completion of its 50,000th battery-electric bus.

The company notes that according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s research, operating 50,000 electric buses is equivalent to taking 1.35 million cars off the road and eliminating 84.5 million tons of C02 over the vehicles’ 12-year lifespan.

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.

NetJets Reaches Agreement with Pilots Union

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After years of pitched battles with its unions, NetJets is finding negotiations to be less acrimonious this time around.

NetJets, the worldwide leader in private aviation, has reached an agreement with its pilot union, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) that gives all crewmembers the opportunity to earn additional compensation while enhancing quality of life on tour.

NetJets elected to initiate mid-term bargaining to improve compensation for long-term and new hire pilots, leading to the development of a new program that expressly recognizes the exceptional efforts its pilots put forth on a daily basis.

NetJets Chairman and CEO Adam Johnson and NJASAP President Pedro Leroux signed the 2018 Tentative Agreement late yesterday afternoon, following several months of collaboration between the parties that paved the way for an ambitious six-week negotiation.

The 2,500-member pilot group ratified the measure in late December with 81-plus percent voting in favor of the package of amendments that extends the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement an additional three years through 2026.

Among other enhancements, the newly ratified Flight & Duty Pay Program (FDPP) introduces new compensation elements, ensuring NetJets continues to be the industry leader in pilot compensation and work rules; the FDPP benefits both the pilot group and propels the business and brand forward.

“Ratification of the 2018 Tentative Agreement represents countless hours of hard work from both the NetJets team and NJASAP as we worked toward a common goal that is mutually beneficial and built on a foundation of trust and transparency,” Johnson said. “In the spirit of true collaboration, the agreement has our pilots’ best interests in mind and maintains NetJets’s position as the industry leader in pilot relations. We believe this agreement and our relationship with our crewmembers are truly unique in our industry.”

Added Leroux, “The NJASAP Executive Board is exceedingly pleased with the outcome of this negotiation – an ambitious undertaking characterized by honesty, goodwill and a genuine commitment to continuing collaboration. It is my privilege to recognize the outstanding efforts of leaders and representatives from both NetJets and NJASAP and to express my sincere appreciation to the pilot group for its thoughtful review and ratification of this ground-breaking agreement.”

© 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.

Pilot Flying J Reopens Travel Center in Missouri

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Pilot Flying J reopened the Flying J Travel Center in Matthews, Missouri in mid-January, following the completion of a ground-up rebuild.

The travel center features an elevated guest experience and full amenities for area residents and the traveling public, while bringing approximately 30 local jobs and other economic benefits back to the community.

“We’re thrilled to return to serve the Matthews community and contribute to the local economy with our newly rebuilt travel center,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “Our goal at Pilot Flying J is to connect people and places with comfort, care and a smile at every stop. Both Matthews residents and those traveling through the New Madrid County area will again be able to enjoy the convenience and amenities of this Flying J Travel Center.”

This Flying J Travel Center offers many amenities, including:

• 12 gasoline fueling positions, 3 RV lanes and 12 diesel lanes with high-speed pumps for quicker refueling
• PJ Fresh pizza and grab-and-go food offerings prepared on site daily, including salads, sandwiches, burgers, fruit cups and an array of hot and cold snacks
• Pilot’s Best Gourmet Coffees, including bean-to-cup selections and cold brew
• Driver’s lounge
• Public Laundry
• Western Union
• CAT Scale
• Upgraded amenities and layout
• Modern interior finishes and exterior lighting
• Everyday products for quick shopping needs

The newly built facility at 703 State Highway 80 is one of Pilot Flying J’s 22 locations in Missouri, including travel centers and dealers and it is expected to contribute $2.9 million annually in state and local tax revenues.

© 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 HomeServices Expands into Northern Italy

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has expanded its franchise network into Northern Italy with the signing of Maggi Group Real Estate, a respected residential and commercial real estate operator serving greater Milan and the Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy and Veneto regions.

The company will operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maggi Properties starting late February.

Maggi Properties, with a distinguished track record dating back to 1981, will be Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ third global franchisee following the 2018 appointments of Rubina Real Estate of Berlin and London-based Kay & Co.

The agency plans to build its market share across Northern Italy and expand into Rome within two years.

“We are excited to enter the greater Milan market with a fine company such as Maggi Properties,” said Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Milan has been among our top priorities as Italy’s financial hub and Europe’s third-largest economy. Maggi Properties is a regional leader that is highly regarded for its residential and commercial operations as well as its real estate advisory services for financial institutions and public authorities. As important, the agency’s core values are similar to our own focusing on trust, integrity and stability.”

Maggi Properties will remain independently owned and operated by founder and CEO Cesare Maggi, who said he’s eager to grow his brokerage as a franchisee of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “We are proud to represent the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand in Milan and throughout Northern Italy,” said Maggi. “We believe the brand will be embraced by local and international clients seeking real estate guidance. Also, the brand will be sought out by American clients looking for property in Milan, Lake Como and the Tuscany region.”

Marcus Benussi, agency advisor and head of foreign operations, said the franchise relationship will help Maggi Properties grow and recruit more skilled agents. “Timing is good for our brand transition, as the real estate market in greater Milan continues to strengthen and attract more buyers from abroad. The trusted Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand brings fresh air to our markets and new opportunities for top real estate professionals. We expect to grow our business in all areas, particularly in high-end and luxury real estate. Agents who want to grow their business should consider Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maggi Properties.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices continues as one of America’s fastest-growing real estate brokerage networks with nearly 50,000 agents and 1,400+ offices named to the brand since its launch in September 2013. With its network membership Maggi Properties will gain access to the brand’s Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. The brand also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

“Our new alliance gives us access to a network of leading American, German and English real estate agencies and an active referral system,” said Benussi. “This means our clients’ listings will be displayed before a significantly larger international audience, and our fellow Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchisees will have a most capable brokerage to which they may refer clients seeking properties in Northern Italy. It’s a new era for our company and we couldn’t be more excited for the future.”

© 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.