Monthly Archives: May 2020

Forest River Acquires REV’s Shuttle Bus Brands

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River Inc. has acquired REV Group’s shuttle bus brands: Champion Bus, Federal Coach, World Trans, Krystal Coach, ElDorado and Goshen Coach, adding to the company’s current shuttle bus divisions.

The brands are currently produced at plants in Salina and Imlay City, Michigan.

The bus product line provides transportation for colleges, churches, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, transportation companies and government agencies.

In a press release, David Wright, president of the bus division at Forest River said “We are excited to welcome Champion Bus and ElDorado to Forest River. Both organizations have built a history of integrity, quality and innovation and enjoy an excellent reputation in our industry today. As we navigate these challenging times, the addition of these historic and iconic brands to the Forest River family enhance our ability to provide products and a customer experience that is second to none. We look forward to working with our dealer partners as we better position Forest River’s shuttle bus divisions for the future.”

© 2020 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 Buses Rolling in Uruguay

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BYD has delivered 20 pure electric buses to CUTCSA, Uruguay’s largest bus operator.

The buses will be put into operation on two bus routes in the central area of the capital to replace existing diesel buses and actively promote the electrification process of the country’s buses.

BYD and CUTCSA collaboration goes back to 2016, under then President of Uruguay, Mr. Tabare Vazquez, the two parties signed a lease agreement for the country’s first pure electric bus. The operation of the bus exceeds 150,000 kilometers, and has carried more than 500,000 passengers. Its solid operating performance is the main reason for order of 20 buses.

In addition to the bus, about 60 BYD pure electric taxis e5 and e6 are also put in operation locally.

BYD’s new energy product footprint in South America includes Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Argentina.

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.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2020 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.

Dairy Queen Adds Plant-Based, Dairy Free Dilly Bar

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Dairy Queen has added a dairy-free version to its iconic Dilly Bar. Warren Buffett has long been a fan of the classic version, but now vegetarians can enjoy a Non-dairy Dilly Bar that is gluten free, dairy free and plant-based.

The bar uses a coconut cream based protein that is encased in a crunchy vegan chocolate coating.

“The Non-Dairy Dilly Bar is being offered in response to fan requests, as well as to align with consumer and industry trends,” Dairy Queen’s Corporate Communications Director Amie Hoffner explained to QSRweb. “Many families have members who follow a variety of diets, including dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, and we at DQ want everyone to have access to a treat that suits their needs.”

Summer just got better!

© 2020 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.

Johns Manville Producing Nonwoven Fabric for Medical Gowns

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Johns Manville plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, started production this month to make nonwoven fabric that will be used for manufacturing of urgently needed disposable medical gowns used in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“There is a desperate need in North America and in Europe for medical gowns,” said John Vasuta, President of Johns Manville’s Engineered Products business. “Our teams are working quickly to create solutions and manufacture a new coated polyester spunbond nonwoven fabric. We are going through unprecedented times – so every step to support health care workers and others on the front lines helps right now.”

This is the second move by Johns Manville to quickly develop and launch a product that can improve the safety of people in potential direct contact with the COVID-19 virus. In April, production started in Richland, Mississippi, of nonwoven media for the manufacturing of face masks.

“Given the urgent need for action,” Vasuta said, “we quickly decided to build on our own capabilities and develop a coated product to supply the domestic medical gown manufacturing industry.”

The new polyester spunbond nonwoven is designed for the production of Level 3 medical gowns. “The fabric offers superior liquid barrier performance compared to materials used for Level 1 and Level 2 medical gowns, while also providing comfort and stitch-strength,” said Souvik Nandi, Director Nonwovens Technology at Johns Manville Engineered Products.

The JM plant in Spartanburg employs 100 people and produces a variety of polyester nonwoven products for the use in mainly filtration, roofing and specialty applications using JM’s proprietary spunbond technology. Johns Manville operates a multitude of polyester spunbond lines across the globe with a distinct customer and market focus.

The new fabric is formally known as Evalith® 017/120H3 and is a coated continuous filament, calendared polyester nonwoven. It meets the requirements for a Level 3 medical gown as established by ANSI/AAMI PB70:2012 Liquid barrier performance and classification of protective apparel and drapes intended for use in health care facilities. Per this standard, the material was tested to AATCC 42-2017 Water Resistance: Impact Penetration Test and AATCC 127-2017 Water Resistance: Hydrostatic Pressure Test. Additionally, Evalith 017/120H3 has been tested to and meets the flammability standard per 16 CFR Part 1610 Class 1, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy and guidance.

© 2020 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.

Veteran Realtor Cathy Jackson Returns to Intero

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Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate brand Intero has announced the return of Cathy Jackson as Vice President of Talent Development. In addition to her duties to help progress the education, knowledge and professionalism of Intero’s agent community, Jackson will also assist with the management of Intero’s Los Gatos office.

Intero is a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America Inc., serving Northern California with 18 offices throughout the greater Silicon Valley. The Intero Franchise network is comprised of 55 affiliates located in Alabama, California, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. The company is headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley.

A respected real estate veteran, Jackson’s career has seen her as a top producer, mentor and cherished teammate wherever she has practiced real estate. Most recently, Cathy was with Compass and prior to that, she was with Sereno Group.

“I am thrilled to be coming back to Intero to take on this exciting new role,” said Cathy Jackson, Vice President of Talent Development. “It will be fulfilling to leverage my real estate knowledge and training experience to help some of the best agents in the business take their careers to another level.”

In addition to Jackson’s new role, she will also assist in the day-to-day operations and management of Intero’s Los Gatos office. She will be a valuable asset to the office with her vast knowledge of the industry, as well as her infectious spirit and desire to build a great culture. If that was not enough on her plate, Jackson will also be continuing her real estate sales business with her son Jamie.

“Cathy is a career real estate professional, with a deep understanding of the business,” said Brian Crane, Chief Executive Officer of Intero. “We are excited to have Cathy and her team join us. Her abundant energy and infectious enthusiasm are what sets her apart as a REALTOR® and leader. As one of the first agents hired at Intero in 2002, we’re excited to see Cathy return home.”

“I am overjoyed to be welcoming Cathy back to the Intero family,” said John Thompson, President of Intero. “I have known Cathy for years and have admired what she has done for the real estate industry as a whole. Having her back on the team continues to strengthen the Intero brand, as Cathy is someone who lives the core values of Intero, and manages every person and situation with professional expertise and personal concern.”

“I’m very excited to have Cathy back at Intero,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America. “Her return marks an incredible, next chapter of the Intero story. I’m looking forward to working closely with her and the Intero team to achieve ongoing growth, perpetual innovation and long-term prosperity.”

© 2020 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.

Veteran Vermont Brokerage Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Franchise Network

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has announced the addition of Jack Associates Real Estate to the network. The brokerage, headquartered in South Burlington, has served the area for 45 years and will operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Vermont Realty Group going forward.

Jack Russell said: “We were looking for leadership, innovation, brand recognition and great tools and systems. We found all that in Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.” The move was also inspired by Chairman Gino Blefari’s motto: “We help people achieve their goals faster than they would in our absence.” Said Lynn Russell, “We want that to be true for all our agents, staff, clients and customers.”

Jack Associates Real Estate adds 10 offices and 43 agents to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network. The brokerage has been a leading real estate company in Vermont since 1972. Under the ownership of Jack and Lynn Russell, the brokerage has built a team of experienced professional real estate agents who always put their clients first.

“The network’s values of trust, integrity, longevity and stability have always been our values as well,” said Jack. Having served as Realtor Board Presidents and honored as Realtors of the Year, Jack Associates agents have always worked towards creating clients for life and becoming what Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices calls “Forever Agents.”

“We are proud to welcome Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Vermont Realty Group to the network,” said Chris Stuart, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Jack and Lynn Russell have built their brokerage into a vital part of the Vermont market and we’re thrilled they have chosen to bring their Forever Agents to our network.”

Lynn added, “We did not make this decision lightly. Change is hard and we would not make this change unless we were very sure it will benefit our team and our clients and customers. We are doing this because we feel it is the best opportunity for us all to grow and succeed together.”

The company also gains access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ ‘FOREVER Cloud’ technology suite powered by Salesforce including lead generation, marketing support, social media content, video production/distribution support and more. In addition, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices provides global listing syndication, professional training and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings.

© 2020 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 Specialty Insurance Now Providing Defense Base Act Coverage

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is now providing Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance on a global basis through its DBA-dedicated underwriting and claims team in Dubai.

“We are pleased to bring this mandatory coverage to contractors and companies operating throughout the Middle East and around the globe,” said Neeraj Yadvendu, Head of Third-Party Lines, BHSI Middle East. “Our coverage is supported by BHSI’s experienced Dubai-based DBA specialists who have well-established relationships with key vendors in volatile regions, ensuring exceptional services to customers when and where coverage is most needed.”

DBA insurance provides disability, medical and death benefits to covered employees, whether the injury or death occurs on or off the job in the course of employment. Further to its standard offering, BHSI can provide additional coverage in other key areas, such as Emergency Medical Evacuation and Supplementary Repatriation Expenses, tailoring its approach to meet customer needs.

U.S. federal law mandates DBA insurance for U.S.-government contractors, private employers and contractors working outside the U.S. on American military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense. These works include providing defense equipment, life support, materials or services to U.S. allies; or providing welfare services to benefit U.S. Armed Services.

© 2020 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 Signs SkyRail Agreement for São Paulo, Brazil

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BYD SkyRail São Paulo and São Paulo Metro formally signed a contract on April 27th for BYD to provide its SkyRail for the Line 17 (Gold Line) project.

This marks BYD’s second major collaborative project in Brazil following the company’s SkyRail line in the city of Salvador.

As the provider of this integrated solution, BYD will provide Line 17 with an entire suite of products and services, including 14 fleets of 5-vehicle trains, switches, conductive rails, UTO-level signal system, central control system, engineering vehicles, vehicle washing machines, and technical services, including engineering integration, installation, debugging and training.

Designed to solve urban traffic congestion, BYD’s SkyRail is a straddle-type monorail system with an investment of 5 billion RMB, developed by a dedicated R&D team of more than 1,000 following five years of research and development. The SkyRail brings lower costs, a shorter construction period and greater terrain adaptability when compared to competing technologies, while also being energy efficient, emitting zero emissions and operating quietly.

The first phase of the Line 17 project will extend from São Paulo’s Congonhas Airport to other central parts of the city, connecting vital business districts, the University of São Paulo, and densely populated areas in the city’s east. With a total length of 17.7 kilometers upon completion, the Gold Line will connect with Line 1 (Blue), Line 4 (Yellow), Line 5 (Lilac), and Line 9 (Emerald).

According to Tyler Li, Country Manager of BYD Brazil, Line 17 is designed to reach a daily flow of 250,000 passengers, and the interval between departures can be as rapid as 80 seconds. As such, these parameters necessitate high requirements for the project’s technology and operations system.

As the largest city in South America, São Paulo is both Brazil’s vibrant economic center and a critical logistics hub. Congonhas Airport, as one of the three major commercial airports in the city, became the second busiest airport in Brazil with nearly 187,000 flights and 13.67 million passengers in 2008. Due to its location in central São Paulo, the high volume of passengers and the density of vehicles in the area often contribute to severe road congestion. The completion of Line 17 is expected to significantly alleviate the pressure on road traffic between Congonhas Airport and other sections of the city.

On January 3, 2020, BYD was granted a construction permission for Salvador’s SkyRail project.

BYD’s ability to win the bid was driven by its expertise in providing an integrated solution, including the vehicles, tracks, stations and automatic control of communication signal systems; and ability to provide tailor-made solutions based on different terrains and localities. It was also underscored by BYD possessing its own intellectual property for these solutions, allowing the company to provide an effective and specialized rail transit system.

With Brazil as a starting point, BYD looks to further service South America and make a strong impact on the construction of urban rail transit worldwide. BYD’s Latin American market is rapidly expanding, and other BYD solutions such as its pure electric buses, taxis and trucks are successfully servicing markets in many countries across the region, including Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay. Globally, BYD’s electric vehicles have spread to over 300 cities in more than 50 countries and regions.

BYD’s headquarters for its North and South American operations is in downtown Los Angeles, California, where the firm’s American SkyRail™ Team is based.

“Over my 45-year career in the planning, design, and construction of rapid transit systems here and abroad, I have never seen a company that matches the depth and breadth of advanced transit technology of BYD – and certainly none with the financial and R&D resources needed to maintain its leadership position over decades to come,” BYD’s Senior Strategic Advisor for SkyRail projects in North America, Dr. Thomas Stone, said. “This SkyRail™ system in Sao Paulo includes vehicles and systems similar to what the company is proposing here in Los Angeles and for several other cities in the United States. I believe this helps solidify BYD’s position as the new global leader in advanced, urban monorail technology.”

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.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2020 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.

McLane Renews Multi-Year Contract with Convenience Store Retailer EG America

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Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Company, Inc., a leading supply chain services company providing grocery and foodservice solutions, has renewed their multi-year contract with EG America.

McLane has serviced EG America for the past several years, and the new multi-year contract period began on April 18, 2020. McLane’s distribution services cover all convenience store categories including tobacco, grocery, candy, snacks, and store supplies.

EG America is a national convenience store retailer with 1,700 stores in 31 states. In the span of only two years, they have become a top five retailer with the acquisition of Kroger’s c-stores, Cumberland Farms, Minit Mart, Certified Oil, and Fastrac. As a leader in the grocery convenience store marketplace, EG America will continue to utilize McLane’s scale of 24 grocery distribution centers across the U.S. to provide excellent service to all of their locations, except for Cumberland Farms and Fastrac which self-distribute.

With McLane’s abundant resources, they will help EG America roll out their marketing plans nationwide and build on the brand equity of their acquired business. EG America plans to utilize McLane’s national, regional, and local data to maximize their offerings to consumers. McLane’s Virtual Trade Show (VTS), an online trade show offering new products, deals, and promotions, will provide EG Group with savings on critical items for their stores.
“Working with McLane has helped us add value to our business with their quick access to data analysis, as well as their impressive scale,” says George Fournier, president at EG America. “We look forward to our continued partnership.”

Vito Maurici, senior vice president of sales at McLane, agrees. “EG America is a valued McLane customer. During our relationship, they have shown great partnership in helping grow sales and profitability for both entities. We look forward to working with them for the next several years and beyond.”

© 2020 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.

Tiffany Curry Becomes First 100-Percent African American Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Franchise Owner

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Real estate leader Tiffany Curry has acquired a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise in Houston, Texas, making her the first 100-percent African American owner of a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices worldwide.

The new company will operate as BHHS Tiffany Curry & Co., REALTORS®.

Curry’s new startup company has launched in Houston’s Upper Kirby area with agents that specialize throughout the Greater Houston and surrounding areas, including in the luxury and global markets. The firm pairs a franchise with a boutique appeal where agents and clients receive personal service and hands-on support. Curry looks to grow the company into one of the nation’s top 75 brokerages over the next 10 years with a location in each of Houston’s high traffic areas.

“Over the last 12 years I have traveled the nation, networking with some of real estate’s brightest talents. I’m thrilled to bring that mix of creativity and innovation to the Greater Houston real estate market,” said Curry. “I look forward to growing a diverse company for all generations, backgrounds and for professionals at different stages of life.”

Curry is excited to be an owner of a Warren Buffett-affiliated company and the first woman-owned BHHS in Houston.

A top Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices agent over the years, she has received numerous production recognitions including Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ President’s Circle and Chairman’s Circle awards. With a well-rounded, solid background as a certified relocation specialist for over 12 years, Curry has achieved outstanding success with many of the top relocation companies in the industry. From corporate executives, engineers, physicians, professional athletes and tech startups, she has worked with a number of Houston’s top professionals. Curry holds the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing Million Dollar GUILD designation for successfully marketing and selling million-dollar homes.

“Tiffany Curry is a talented leader who brings out the very best in those who work with her,” said Chris Stuart, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEO. “Over the years her teams have been motivated, well-trained and laser-focused on clients’ varying needs. The same should be expected of Tiffany Curry & Co., REALTORS®.

Curry encourages people to think bigger and to always press forward. “I refused to be defined by walls, and so should you,” said Curry. “In the words of Babe Ruth, ‘It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.’ I always tell aspiring entrepreneurs; you can achieve anything in life if you put your mind to it. More than 83 percent of my business has never looked like me; that has never deterred me from achieving my goals or business aspirations. I have always known that I wanted to own a real estate franchise even though the majority of owners I saw didn’t look like me. It never stopped me from seeing where I wanted to be.”

© 2020 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.