Monthly Archives: April 2022

Berkshire Hathaway Bullish on Chevron

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

In addition to taking a fourteen percent stake in Occidental Petroleum, Berkshire Hathaway has made a dramatic increase to its stake in Chevron in the first quarter of 2022.

Berkshire’s $4.5 billion position in Chevron on December 31,2021, has more than quintupled to $25.9 billion as of March 31, 2022. The move makes Chevron Berkshire’s fourth largest holding behind only its stakes in Apple, Bank of America and American Express.

The position, which was revealed in Berkshire’s latest filing, comes as the oil and gas giant quadrupled its earnings in the first quarter of 2022, its highest quarterly profit in the past ten years.

Chevron’s stock has rocketed up 31.37 year-to-date and its dividend is yielding 3.63%.

Chevron’s $308 billion market capitalization makes it an easy opportunity for Berkshire to put a large portion of its cash position to work.

© 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.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Insurance Float Up $1 Billion

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Insurance float has continued its growth with an increase of $1 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2022, as compared to the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.

At March 31, 2022, insurance float (the net liabilities we assume under insurance contracts) was approximately $148 billion, an increase of approximately $1 billion since yearend 2021.

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.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Operating Earnings for Q1 2022 Show Strong Gains in Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses, Lower Insurance-underwriting

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway Q1 2022 Operating Earnings (in millions)

First Quarter
2022 2021
Insurance-underwriting $ 47 $ 764
Insurance-investment income 1,170 1,208
Railroad 1,371 1,251
Utilities and energy 750 703
Manufacturing, service and retailing businesses 3,025 2,619
Other 677 473
Operating earnings $ 7,040 $ 7,018

 

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.

Berkshire Hathaway Continued Stock Buybacks in Q1 2022

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway has continued its stock buybacks in the first quarter of 2022, reporting that “Approximately $3.2 billion was used to purchase shares of Class A and Class B common stock during the first quarter of 2022. On March 31, 2022, there were 1,470,875 Class A equivalent shares outstanding.”

The buybacks have slowed considerably from 2021’s pace, reflecting Berkshire’s rising share price. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Berkshire repurchased $6.9 billion in combined Class A and Class B common stock.

Berkshire’s $27 billion in buybacks for 2021 was a record for the company.

At the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Buffett revealed that he didn’t repurchase any shares in April 2022.

© 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.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties Plans “Explosive Growth” and Appoints New Leadership

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

A newly appointed New York City-based leadership team will oversee Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties’ “explosive growth” across the city, inclusive of exponential agent count and new office locations on the Upper West Side, Downtown Manhattan and in Brooklyn, with more to follow.

Steven James will serve as the New York City brokerage’s president & CEO; Brad Loe has been appointed executive vice president, director of sales. The pair will work alongside Candace Adams, president & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England/New York/Hudson Valley Properties, and Diane Ramirez, the New York City brokerage’s chief strategy officer – who joined the executive team at the end of last year – to form the company’s leadership team. Adams will continue overseeing all three brokerages (New England/New York/Hudson Valley Properties), while James, Loe and Ramirez will govern the company’s New York City operations.

“With Steven, Brad, and Diane at the helm, BHHSNYP will expand strategically across New York City while creating a productive, inclusive, and professional work environment that also focuses on personal growth and mentorship,” said Adams. “Our goal is to be the absolute best brokerage in New York, knowing that we are leveraging the venerable Berkshire Hathaway brand.”

“No other firm in New York has this caliber of experienced, proven leadership, coupled with the backing of Berkshire Hathaway,” continued Adams. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices marries the local, national, and global real estate markets for its clients.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties/New York Properties/Hudson Valley Properties is a leading real estate brokerage firm with more than 2,200 REALTORS® in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Manhattan, Westchester, NY, and Hudson Valley, NY.

“This is the right moment…the right brand,” said James. “To be able to create a new platform that addresses what agents do on a day-to-day basis is incomparable. Agents get lost in the shuffle at big companies — or their achievements go unrecognized. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices diligently works to be particularly agent centric. We are the ideal brokerage for agents who may have long-term concerns about the stability of their career trajectories. Through our work here, we want to be advocates and sounding boards for these individuals, maintaining an open-door policy that fosters growth as well as greatness.”

James and Loe most recently served as executive directors of brokerage development for HomeServices of America, the parent company of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise network.

Prior to those roles, James was president and CEO of Douglas Elliman’s New York City brokerage and director of sales for its East Side office. Loe, highly respected as a mentor to his agents for nearly two decades, was executive manager of sales at Douglas Elliman’s 1995 Broadway and 575 Madison Avenue offices.
James and Loe most recently served as executive directors of brokerage development for HomeServices of America, the parent company of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise network.

Prior to those roles, James was president and CEO of Douglas Elliman’s New York City brokerage and director of sales for its East Side office. Loe, highly respected as a mentor to his agents for nearly two decades, was executive manager of sales at Douglas Elliman’s 1995 Broadway and 575 Madison Avenue offices.

Just last month, the firm signed a new, seven-year lease for its offices at 590 Madison Ave., almost doubling the size of its current space. James, Loe and Ramirez will work out of this office, effective immediately.

© 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.

Double-Digit Growth Vaults Brooks Running Into Top Spot in U.S. National Performance Footwear Market

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s running shoe and fitness apparel company, Brooks Running, is on track for double-digit year-over-year growth in 2022.

After ending 2021 with over $1.11 billion in global revenue, in Q1 2022, Brooks took the top spot in the U.S. National performance footwear market for the first time, with 22% market share, based on revenue. Its Brooks Ghost and Brooks Adrenaline were the top two selling franchise lines in the adult performance running market, collectively accounting for 14% of U.S. sales.

“While Vietnam factory closures last year caused us to fall short of fulfilling strong market demand for Brooks in Q1, we remain bullish for substantial growth in 2022,” said Brooks CEO Jim Weber. “Brooks’ performance products continued to lead with runners and the best is yet to come as our new Glycerin styles come to market featuring DNA LOFT v3, a nitrogen-infused midsole compound that delivers an incredibly compelling running experience.”

The 2022 Sports & Fitness Industry (SFIA) Manufacturers Sales Report, found that total U.S. run industry growth—including equipment, apparel, and footwear—grew 15.8% in 2021.

© 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.

Kraft Heinz Earnings Show Strong Gains in Q1

The Kraft Heinz Company has announced that its Q1 2022 results had a 37.5 percent increase in net income versus the year-ago period to $781 million.

The results were primarily driven by lower non-cash impairment losses in the current year period, lower interest expense primarily due to debt extinguishment costs in the prior year period, and favorable changes in other expense/(income).

Details for Q1:

Diluted EPS was $0.63, up 37.0 percent versus the prior year, driven by the net income/(loss) factors discussed above.

Adjusted EPS was $0.60, down 16.7 percent versus the prior year, primarily driven by lower Adjusted EBITDA, including a negative $0.08 impact from divestitures, and higher taxes on adjusted earnings that more than offset lower interest expense versus the prior year period.

Net sales decreased 5.5 percent versus the year-ago period to $6.0 billion, including a negative 11.2 percentage point impact from divestitures net of acquisitions and a negative 1.1 percentage point impact from currency.

Organic net sales increased 6.8 percent versus the prior year period. Pricing was up 9.0 percentage points versus the prior year period with growth across each reporting segment that was primarily driven by increases to mitigate rising input costs in retail and foodservice channels. Volume/mix declined 2.2 percentage points versus the year-ago period reflecting supply constraints that were partially offset by strong demand for products in retail and a continued recovery in foodservice channels.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $486 million, down 40.0 percent versus the year-ago period, primarily driven by lower Adjusted EBITDA and higher cash outflows for inventories primarily related to stock rebuilding and increased input costs. These impacts were partially offset by lower cash outflows for interest primarily due to prior year reduction of long-term debt and lower cash outflows for variable compensation in 2022 compared to 2021.

Free Cash Flow was $272 million, down 53.4 percent versus the comparable prior year period due to the lower net cash provided by operating activities that was partially offset by lower capital expenditures versus the prior year period.

© 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 Makes Strategic Moves to Go Into Level-4 High Autonomous Driving

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD has signed key strategic partnerships in order to become a leading provider of self-driving cars.

The company has announced that Horizon Robotics will provide its self-driving “Journey 5” computer chip for certain BYD models set to be launched next year. BYD models equipped with the Journey 5 chip will be available by mid-2023 at the earliest, and BYD is the first car company to announce that it will use the Journey 5 chip in its vehicles.

Horizon Robotics mission statement is “To harness the full potential of AI, we constantly push the boundaries of innovation in AI processors, AI algorithms, AI compute systems and AI toolchains.”

First unveiled in August 2021, Horizon Robotics’ third-generation automotive-grade AI processor Journey 5 is designed for Level-4 high autonomous driving. The company also launched a real-time operating system TogetherOS, which will be fully open to partners along the automotive industry chain.

Kai Yu, founder and chief executive officer of Horizon Robotics, said: “We are proud to become the industry’s first provider of AI processors that enable Level-2 to Level-4 autonomous driving. Horizon is committed to exploring the best human-car interaction experience in both autonomous driving and in-cabin smart system, which we believe is the future of intelligent vehicles. But we cannot do it alone. We open our operating system and toolchains to customers and partners so that they can design solutions catering to their needs and automatically upgrade their software based on our Journey processors.”

In December 2021, BYD made a strategic investment in RoboSense, a world’s leading smart LiDAR system technology company and signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement.

RoboSense is a pioneer in the core technologies of LiDAR hardware, smart sensor software and chips. As the partnership deepens, RoboSense will keep pace with BYD, continuously upgrade the technological capacity in intelligent perception, and form a deeply integrated technology matrix to broaden the vertical coverage across the industry chain and jointly promote the innovation and transformation of the smart new energy vehicle industry.

RoboSense and Horizon Robotics

Also in December 2021, RoboSense formed a strategic partnership with Horizon Robotics to mobilize their respective technological capacity and mass production experience to roll out in-depth cooperation focusing on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous driving, robotics, new intelligent transportation infrastructure and other applications.

Leveraging its leading smart LiDAR software and hardware technologies, RoboSense will join hands with Horizon Robotics to promote the large-scale commercialization of all segments of intelligent connected vehicle.

According to the partnership agreement, based on RoboSense’s second generation smart solid-state LiDAR RS-LiDAR-M1 and Horizon Robotics’ Journey 3 and Journey 5 automotive smart chips, the two companies will collaborate on the development and adaptation of integrated perception solutions for high-level autonomous driving pre-installed mass production. In the future, the partners will mobilize their respective advantageous industry resources to jointly promote the all-round standardized implementation of the domestic intelligent connected transportation industry.

BYD recently announced that it would no longer produce gas-only cars, and its March new energy vehicle sales in China hit a record 104,878 vehicles, as compared to only 24,218 in March 2021.

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 $7.69 billion as of December 31, 2021.

© 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.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Read Everything in Sight

If there is one piece of wisdom that Warren Buffett has shared that he believes is key to becoming a good investor it is “to read everything in sight.” It is how he got started, and it has continued throughout his life.

“I just read a lot. I probably took every book in the Omaha Public Library, every book they had on investing, or the stock market, basically,” Warren Buffett said at the 2005 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “. . . . I took all the books out. I read them. And finally, when I was 11, I bought three shares of stock and I didn’t know, I was fascinated by the subject. My dad got elected to Congress, so now the library became even bigger, and I took all the books I could out of there on markets. And I used a chart and do all that sort of thing. And then, finally, I read [Benjamin] Graham’s book when I was at the University of Nebraska, The Intelligent Investor, when I was 19, and that just changed my whole framework. But the advice I would give is to read everything in sight.”

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.

Jet Deliveries Begin for NetJets’ China Partnership

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets has begun delivering Gulfstream G450s for its China market partnership with Shenzhen, China-based Amber Aviation. The partnership will see NetJets provide up to 20 aircraft to Amber Aviation.

The partnership is part of a new Jet Card, membership club and shared lease programs. In addition to planes, NetJets is also providing service support, sales assistance, product design and legal support.

“This partnership with Amber Aviation offers NetJets a unique opportunity to provide long-term service in the Asian Market to our owners,” said NetJets Chairman and CEO Adam Johnson. “The team at Amber Aviation shares NetJets’ commitment to safety and service, and is a truly collaborative partner that we look forward to working with alongside our respected co-investors.”

Amber Aviation chairman Chang Qiusheng first joined the aviation sector in 1981 and has served in various management positions in the field for over 30 years. Prior to founding Amber Aviation, Mr. Chang established Business Aviation Asia Limited where he served as Chairman and General Manager. He guided the firm to become the largest business jet management company within a period of ten years. Mr. Chang has also served in senior management positions in Beijing Air China Aviation Service Corp., Air China VVIP Office and Air China Business Jet.

This is not the first go around for NetJets in China. NetJets previously had a China joint venture formed in 2012 with Hony Jinsi Investment Management (Beijing) Ltd and Fung Investments, but the partnership was scrapped in 2017.

© 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.