Monthly Archives: February 2022

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Expands in Colorado

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a global residential real estate brokerage franchise network, has announced its further expansion in the West region with the addition of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties. The renowned brokerage brings an additional office and 12 real estate professionals to the global network. The addition marks the brand’s continued growth in the Centennial State and its ninth network company in Colorado.

The brokerage is owned and led by real estate veteran, Brenda Wild. On why she chose to join the network, Wild said, “The mission of our company stems from our desire to provide our clients with relationship-based service from start to finish. The Aspen real estate market is currently setting records and is a globally known second home destination. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is synonymous with world-class marketing for a global reach, and our alliance enables us to service our clients with exceptional service, marketing and global outreach on our listings.

“With the market setting records we are excited to welcome Brenda and her team to the network,” said Christy Budnick, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “The region’s wide variety of luxury properties and high-class accommodations continues to develop. Brenda and her team have experience representing some of the finest properties.”

By joining the network, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ active referral and relocation networks, and its “FOREVER Cloud” technology suite, a powerful source for lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more.

The brand also provides an exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings. Its Prestige Magazine showcases network members’ premium listings with a strong lineup of feature stories covering topics that appeal to high-end real estate clients.

“Aspen, Colorado continues to be a popular destination for those looking to match a home with their lifestyle,” said Gino Blefari, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Brenda has led a successful company for 10 years and has been in the industry over 20 years and is a true expert in her community. Her team strives to provide their clients with a seamless experience from start to finish and we look forward to welcoming them to the network.”

In the past 12 months, there have been 205 single-family homes sold in the Aspen market. This is a record-setting number of home sales for Aspen in any 12-month period — and twice the sales volume the market experienced during the pre-pandemic years of 2018 and 2019. The last record year for Aspen home sales was back in 2006 when 146 Aspen homes traded hands in a single year.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties has one office in the area with plans for additional locations in Basalt and Carbondale.

© 2022 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 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.

Brooks Posts Record Growth, Surpasses $1 Billion in Revenue

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Berkshire Hathaway’s running shoe and fitness apparel company, Brooks Running, set new records in 2021, ending the year with global revenue exceeding $1.11 billion, an increase of 31% percent year over year.

This marks the first time the running brand has reached $1 billion in annual revenue.

Brooks navigated the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and related supply chain disruption by reaffirming its commitment to the running community, remaining agile and transparent in servicing strong customer demand, and attracting new runners worldwide to the brand. All the while, the company continued to invest heavily in scientific research, technology, and industry-leading runner insights to deliver best-in-class performance gear.

“Brooks had a record year across every metric we track,” said Jim Weber, Brooks CEO. “Crossing the $1 billion threshold is especially gratifying as it reflects the outcome of a 20-year focus and commitment from our global team to inspire and serve runners better than any brand in run. We enter 2022 with strong demand for Brooks products in all retail channels as the only major brand exclusively anchored in performance across the run lifestyle, from sport enthusiasts to fitness seekers. I am optimistic the best is yet to come for the run community and for Brooks.”

The worldwide demand for performance running footwear continued to grow during the past year. In 2021, Brooks sold 25% more pairs of shoes globally compared to prior year.

The U.S. total running shoe market increased dollar sales by 20% in 2021, according to The NPD Group, as Americans adapted to COVID-19 realities and sought to reclaim their active lifestyles. Brooks’s commitment to reach runners where they shop is reflected in strong market share across channels in 2021. Brooks was again the leading brand in the running specialty channel, which Brooks views as an influential, community centric channel.

In the athletic specialty and sporting goods (ASSG) channel, Brooks also earned No. 1 market share in adult running shoes, with 28% dollar share in 2021 — a year-over-year increase of 4 percentage points. Across all U.S. retail channels combined, Brooks was the No. 2 ranked adult performance running footwear brand in 2021, with 19% dollar share, gaining 2 percentage points year over year, reflecting strong sales growth up 37%. Brooks produced the industry’s top two franchise styles for adult performance running footwear: the Ghost at No. 1 and the Adrenaline GTS at No. 2.

Brooks’ direct e-commerce revenue in North America grew 149% over pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

In local currency, Brooks’ EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) business grew 25% in revenue year over year. Momentum occurred across all countries and distribution channels including specialty retail, general sporting goods, and directly on BrooksRunning.eu. This pace further underscores the brand’s demand throughout the region.

© 2022 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 Signs MOU to Build New Energy Vehicles in Uzbekistan

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BYD Auto Industry Co Ltd (BYD) and UZAVTOSANOAT JSC (UzAuto) signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop, produce and popularize New Energy Vehicles (NEV) in Uzbekistan.

The MOU was signed on Feb. 16 during an online ceremony led by Michael Shu, General Manager and Managing Director, BYD Europe, and Urmzakov Shavkat, Chairman of the Board of UzAuto in Uzbekistan.

BYD, the world’s leading NEV manufacturer, has more than 26 years’ experience in battery research and development, and is renowned globally for its pioneering innovations in this field. BYD is the only NEV producer to have developed its own powertrain systems, power batteries, automotive semiconductors drive-motors and motor controller systems. It is also one of the first manufacturers in the world to produce one million electric passenger cars.

UzAuto is the largest and only manufacturer in Central Asia to offer a full range of vehicles. UzAuto has a longstanding heritage spanning several decades. During this time, it has established an excellent reputation within the industry, achieving a significant market share in Uzbekistan and the neighbouring region. UzAuto has a strong sales and after-sales network, and has gained recognition for outstanding service.

Umurzakov Shavkat, Chairman of the Board, UzAuto, said: “Today is an important day for the Uzbekistan automotive industry as it demonstrates our country is moving to a new stage of development. This Memorandum of Understanding with BYD means that UzAuto is ready to take all necessary measures to start the implementation of new energy vehicles. We are looking forward to a successful and mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Together BYD and UzAuto look forward to developing and producing sustainable and practical new energy vehicle solutions that are kind to the planet, while excelling in safety, performance and efficiency. This MoU is core to a new era of sustainable transport, laying the foundations for the mass rollout of new energy vehicles, supported via efficient sales channels and after-sales services.

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.

© 2022 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.

Kraft Heinz Names CEO Miguel Patricio as Chair of the Board

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The Kraft Heinz Company has announced that the Board of Directors intends to appoint Chief Executive Officer Miguel Patricio as Chair, subject to his re-election at the Kraft Heinz 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

Current Chair of the Board of Directors Alexandre Behring will retire following the end of his term at the 2022 Annual Meeting.

“We are very pleased with the progress experienced by the Company in advancing its strategic plan during the past few years under Miguel’s leadership and see his elevation to Chair as a natural progression, providing a continuation of strong and consistent stewardship to guide the Company well into the future,” said Alex Behring, Kraft Heinz Board Chair. “I have enjoyed my time working alongside Miguel, the Board, and the Kraft Heinz leadership team.”

“Alex’s contribution to Kraft Heinz has been invaluable and his impact will continue to be felt for many years,” said Miguel Patricio, Chief Executive Officer and Director. “I am truly honored at the opportunity to succeed him as Chair.”

“On behalf of Berkshire Hathaway, I would like to thank Alex for his dedication, leadership, and service to Kraft Heinz. Alex and I have worked closely together since 2013, when we both served on the H.J. Heinz Board, and I know our relationship will extend well into the future,” said Greg Abel, member of the Kraft Heinz Board of Directors and Vice Chair, Non-Insurance Operations of Berkshire Hathaway. “We look forward to working with Miguel as Chair as his vision for the Company’s transformation continues to move the business forward.”

The Company also announced that the Board of Directors has nominated James Park of Fitbit at Google to stand for election at the Kraft Heinz 2022 Annual Meeting.

“I am also thrilled by the prospect of adding James Park to our Board,” Patricio said. “Technology and digital capabilities are extremely important elements of our continuing business strategy. His background and experience will be especially valuable to Kraft Heinz and the Board as we begin the next phase of our transformation.”

James Park, 45, is a technology entrepreneur who co-founded Fitbit, Inc., a connected health and fitness company, that was acquired by Google in January 2021. Mr. Park is Vice President and General Manager, Fitbit at Google. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and member of the board of directors of Fitbit since 2007, and as chairman of the board of directors from 2015, until its acquisition. He is a leader in the technology industry with a strong track record of ideating and operating successful technology companies. Park was also the co-founder of Wind-Up Labs, Inc., an online photo sharing company acquired by CNET Networks, Inc. in 2005, and Epesi Technologies, Inc. In 2015, he was named to Fortune magazine’s 40 Under 40, an annual ranking of the most influential young people in business.

© 2022 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 gu

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Avoid This Type of Business

It probably seems obvious that investors should avoid declining businesses, but sometimes the share prices can seem so low, as compared to the cash they are giving out in dividends, that it can lure in investors none the less. As a whole, trying to find some remaining life in a dying business is not a strategy Warren Buffett recommends, even though he began his career searching for “cigar butt” businesses. He notes that “the same amount of energy and intelligence brought to other types of businesses is just going to work out better.”

“Generally speaking, it pays to stay away from declining businesses,” Warren Buffett said at the 2012 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “It’s very hard. You’d be amazed at the offerings of businesses we get where they say, you know, it’s — I don’t want to upset Charlie, but they say, you know, it’s only six times EBITDA, and then they project some future that doesn’t have any meaning whatsoever. If you really think a business is declining, most of the time you should avoid it. . . . The real money is going to be made by being in growing businesses, and that’s where the focus should be.”

Hear Buffett’s full explanation

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2022 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 in Michigan

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a global residential real estate brokerage franchise network, has announced its further expansion in the state of Michigan, with the addition of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kee Realty. This addition marks the brand’s continued growth throughout the state with its 11th network location.

With offices throughout Michigan including Clinton Township, Rochester, Oxford, New Baltimore and more, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kee Realty will add more than 400 network agents to the global brokerage under the leadership of industry veteran John Meesseman.

“Our company principles of family, teamwork, fun, agent experience and superior service to our clients support the Berkshire Hathaway principles of trust, integrity, stability and longevity,” said John Meesseman, president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kee Realty. “With this transition, our company will continue to uphold these values with the support of the global brand.”

“We’re thrilled to expand in Michigan with such an esteemed group of network agents,” said Christy Budnick, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “These market-leading agents are known for their exceptional client service, and we can’t wait to advance their businesses with the brand’s top-of-the-line technology and programming. Our continued growth throughout the Midwest region will provide them with an expanding referral network.”

By joining the network, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kee Realty agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ active referral and relocation networks, and its “FOREVER Cloud” technology suite, a powerful source for lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more.

The brand also provides an exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for premier listings. Its Prestige Magazine showcases network members’ premium listings with a strong lineup of feature stories covering topics that appeal to high-end real estate clients.

“We are excited to welcome John and his talented group of agents to the network,” commented Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “And we are looking forward to supporting their growth as they assist home buyers and home sellers throughout the state of Michigan and beyond.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kee Realty has 10 offices with plans for continued growth. The company is actively involved in the community with local charities such as Big Family of Michigan where John Meesseman sits on the Board of Directors.

© 2022 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 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.

CORT Becomes Exclusive Supplier to Metro Offices

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Berkshire Hathaway’s CORT has been selected as an exclusive supplier by Metro Offices, a leading Flexible Workspace as a Service provider that is expanding its Metro Federal.

As a woman-owned and woman-operated private company, Metro has been operating business centers in the Washington Metropolitan area for the past 32 years. During those years, Metro has outsourced cumbersome office acquisition and administration functions to over 10,000 small and medium size companies.

“Metro has always been a company that seeks to be forward thinking on how we can assist our clients to be successful,” states Kathlene Buchanan, CEO and Founder of Metro. “With that in mind, over 10 years ago Metro sought to develop another solution to its future client base, in particular the federal government. Flexible Workspace as a Service solution provides an agency with a turnkey facility including furniture, utilities, communications, IT services and all related infrastructure, and full-time support staff under a services contract. Contracts are flexible, scalable, and applicable for 1-to-5-year terms.”

To achieve this nation-wide growth, Metro Federal has selected CORT’s Furniture-as-a-Service solution to contribute to the successful delivery of this solution.

“With the addition of CORT, our solution truly provides continuous flexibility to our government clients,” Ms. Buchanan said. “Metro and CORT will also modify the furniture configuration in our solution as the government agencies’ needs change during the contract.”

CORT’s workplace furniture offerings enable Metro Offices’ customers to increase flexibility as the fully furnished amenity brings customers one step closer to a turnkey facility. In addition to furnishings, clients are supported with expertise to locate and design their space, build out and equip an office as needed, all under one contract.

“We are very excited at CORT to be selected by Metro for this new offering to federal government customers,” said Todd Simpson, CORT Strategic Business Development Managing Director. “CORT and Metro Offices have partnered a number of times in recent years, and we’ve always been impressed with Metro’s ability to execute turnkey workspace solutions quickly and ahead of schedule, and then tailor them over time as their client’s needs change.”

© 2022 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 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.

Tom Murphy Resigns From Berkshire Board

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Tom Murphy, a member of Berkshire Hathaway’s Board of Directors since 2003, has resigned from Berkshire’s Board effective February 15, 2022.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire’s Chairman and CEO, issued the following statement. “Tom Murphy has taught me more about running a business than any other person. We have been friends and mental partners for more than 50 years. My only regret is that I didn’t meet him earlier. Tom phoned me today and said that recovering from a recent bout with Covid convinced him that he would feel more comfortable ending his activities at Berkshire. I accepted his wish. He will continue as a major shareholder and friend.”

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 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 is Fastest Rising Automaker in Brand Value

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Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD Co., Ltd. is the fast rising automaker in brand value according to Brand Finance.

“BYD (brand value US$6.4 billion) is the fastest-growing brand in the sector with a 100% brand value increase,” Brand Finance reported as part of its Global 500 Annual Report 2022.

Brand Finance evaluates the strength and value of more than 5000 global brands across various sectors every year.

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.

© 2022 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.