Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Dominion Energy Mutually Terminate the Sale of Questar Pipeline Group

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Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Dominion Energy have agreed to terminate the planned sale of Questar Pipeline Group to Berkshire Hathaway Energy. The decision has no impact on the sale of gas transmission and storage assets to Berkshire Hathaway Energy completed in November 2020. That sale represented approximately 80% of the original transaction value.

© 2021 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 Has Record Demand

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Business is booming at Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets, with the company experiencing record demand that has eclipsed anything in its 57-year history.

The company has been forced to pause its sales of fractional shares, leases, and jet cards for its Cessna Citation XLS and Embraer Phenom 300 jets because of “unprecedented demand within the private travel industry,” AIN reports.

NetJets is currently hiring 150 pilots to meet the demand, and is also hiring additional service personnel. It aims to have 100 pilots fully trained by October.

The company will add 39 new private jets to its U.S. fleet by the end of 2021, and is scheduled to add 40 planes a year over the next decade.

© 2021 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.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Volatility is a Huge Plus for the Real Investor

When stocks make sharp moves downward, the news is often full of commentaries decrying volatility. However, for Warren Buffett, volatility is just what he is hoping for.

“Volatility is a huge plus to the real investor,” Warren Buffett said at the 1997 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “Ben Graham used the example of ‘Mr. Market’…And Ben said, ‘You know, just imagine that when you buy a stock, that you in effect, you’ve bought into a business where you have this obliging partner who comes around every day and offers you a price at which you’ll either buy or sell. And the price is identical.’ And no one ever gets that in a private business, where daily you get a buy-sell offer by a party. But in the stock market you get it. That’s a huge advantage. And it’s a bigger advantage if this partner of yours is a heavy-drinking manic depressive. The crazier he is, the more money you’re going to make. So you, as an investor, you love volatility. Not if you’re on margin, but if you’re an investor you aren’t on margin. And if you’re an investor, you love the idea of wild swings because it means more things are going to get mispriced.”

Buffett’s full explanation on volatility

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 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.

Clayton Homes Subsidiary Arbor Homes Acquires R&R Plumbing

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Clayton Homes subsidiary Arbor Homes has acquired R&R Plumbing Inc. in a deal that closed July 1.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Former owner Dick Poynter, who founded R&R in 1989, will remain as president and continue daily management of the operations. R&R has more than 90 employees.

“On behalf of the entire R&R Plumbing community, we are honored to join the Arbor Homes team and look forward to doing our part in providing high-quality affordable housing to central Indiana for many years to come,” Poynter said.

Founded in 1994, Arbor Homes was acquired in July 2018 by Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Properties Group Inc., a division of Berkshire Hathaway.

The R&R acquisition is the second for Arbor since it became part of Clayton Properties.

In December 2020, the company acquired Franklin-based Fisher Contracting, a land development company.

Arbor filed 1,372 single-family building permits in 2020, up from 1,188 the previous year. It has built more than 14,000 new homes in the Indianapolis area since its founding in 1994.

“We are excited to welcome this like-minded company into the Arbor Homes family,” Pete Logan, chief operating officer for Arbor said in written rcoook. “This partnership will help expand our mission of building great neighborhoods and homes for people across the state, where they can fully experience and celebrate life.”

Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2003 for $1.7 billion, Clayton Homes has grown into a diverse builder offering traditional site built homes, modular homes, manufactured homes, tiny homes, college dormitories, military barracks and apartments.

© 2021 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-Backed Paytm Heading for India’s Largest IPO

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Berkshire Hathaway-backed mobile payment company Paytm will file a draft prospectus for its long-anticipated IPO on July 12, the date the company has set an extraordinary general meeting in Delhi, India.

Paytm is India’s largest mobile payments and commerce platform.

The IPO is projected to be at a valuation of between $24 billion to $25 billion with the company raising around $2.3 billion, the largest in India to date.

Founded in 2009, Paytm is an Indian e-commerce payment system and financial technology company, based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

In 2018, Berkshire Hathaway made a $356 million investment for a 3-4% stake in One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of Paytm.

In addition to Berkshire Hathaway, China’s Alibaba and Japan’s SoftBank are also stakeholders.

The investment was made by Berkshire portfolio manager Todd Combs, who said at the time, “I have been impressed by Paytm and am excited about being a part of its growth story, as it looks to transform payments and financial services in India.”

“Berkshire’s experience in financial services, and long-term investment horizon is going to be a huge advantage in Paytm’s journey of bringing 500 million Indians to the mainstream economy through financial inclusion,” Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in 2018.

© 2021 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.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: It’s Hard to Regain a Lost Competitive Advantage

Once a company loses its competitive advantage, it is very rare that it can regain it, according Warren Buffett. He has seen it on occasion, but he certainly wouldn’t bet on it.

“In terms of competitive advantage and then regain — lost and then regained — there aren’t many examples of that,” Warren Buffett said at the 2003 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “… I’ve got a friend who always wants to buy lousy companies with the idea he’s going to change them into wonderful companies. And I just ask him, you know, ‘Where in the last hundred years have you seen it happen?’”

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 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 UK and ADL Receive 195 Bus Order For London

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Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD’s subsidiary BYD UK and their joint venture partner Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) will deliver the UK’s largest ever electric bus order. The order has been placed by RATP Dev London, one of Transport for London (TfL)’s principal bus operators, for a total of 195 single and double deck vehicles.

With this order, RATP Dev London confirms its commitment to supporting TfL’s electrification plan for London’s bus network, a key objective of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy for 2018, under which all TfL buses will be zero emissions by 2037, with all of London’s transport becoming emissions free by 2037.

Deliveries of RATP Dev London’s latest BYD ADL fleet will begin in the summer. 68 BYD ADL Enviro200EV single decks – including 21 compact 33-foot models – and 127 BYD ADL Enviro400EV double decks will be based at RATP Dev London’s Fulwell, Harrow and Shepherd’s Bush depots to serve routes in the west of the capital. The buses will join 36 existing BYD ADL single decks in service since 2018 and 29 BYD ADL double decks delivered last year. Feedback from RATP Dev London on these in-service vehicles has been very positive, with the double deck BYD ADL Enviro400EV in particular delivering exceptional reliability on 24-hour route operations.

BYD is a global leader in batteries, energy management and electric mobility. ADL is a subsidiary of leading independent global bus manufacturer NFI Group Inc. (NFI).

Catherine Chardon, Managing Director of RATP Dev London, said, “Electrification is a critical part of our business and partnership with Transport for London (TfL). We launched our two first 100% electric routes less than two years ago, as well as London’s first fully electric 24-hour double-decker bus route last year. By the beginning of 2022, we will operate 15 zero emission routes and have five of our garages converted to electric. This agreement will help RATP Dev London position itself as the leading electric bus services provider in the city. We are proud to work hand in hand with TfL to help London achieve its sustainability goals.”

BYD UK Managing Director, Frank Thorpe, said, “Naturally, this is a hugely significant moment in the development of the BYD brand in the UK. Public transport in the capital often provides the blueprint for other towns and cities and the fact that a major operator like RATP Dev is making such a substantial commitment to eMobility will, I believe, resonate with Local Authorities across the UK. The increasing electrification of routes by TfL operators is delivering long-term productivity to their fleets and real environmental benefits for Londoners.”

Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director, said: “RATP Dev London’s record order is a resounding vote of confidence in our British-built electric buses and ADL’s proven ability to tailor these to authorities and operators’ requirements. These buses will build on our pioneering work in support of Transport for London’s Bus Safety Standard with a focus on safety for drivers, passengers and other road users.”

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.

© 2021 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’s HomeServices of America Acquires Americana Holdings

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Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America, Inc. has acquired Americana Holdings, one of the largest independently owned and operated Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchisees. With the acquisition, HomeServices of America adds nearly 3,000 sales associates in 32 offices in communities throughout Arizona, Southern Nevada, and Orange County.

Americana Holdings operates across three states as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties.

The acquisition also includes Americana Holdings’ interests in the following title and escrow companies: Legendary Title Agency (Arizona), Legendary Escrow Services (California), and Equity Title (Nevada).

With this transaction, HomeServices has nearly 46,250 real estate professionals operating in more than 900 offices across 32 states.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Americana Holdings joined the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network as an independent franchisee in 2014 and with this transaction, now joins the HomeServices’ family of wholly-owned companies.

In 2018, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties entered the Inc 5000 Hall of Fame after being named as one of the country’s fastest-growing private companies for five years. In 2018, it also was ranked No. 32 on the Swanepoel Mega 1000, a list of the largest real estate brokerages in the U.S. by sales volume.

Mark Stark, the company’s chief executive officer, has nearly 40 years of real estate experience and is among real estate’s most recognized and influential leaders. In 2020, Stark was named among the “Most Powerful People in Real Estate” in the Swanepoel Power 200. Stark, together with president and chief operating officer Gordon Miles, will continue to lead Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona, California, and Nevada Properties’ strategic planning and growth initiatives as well as manage the company’s day-to-day operations.

“Mark and Gordon, together with their team of extraordinary sales managers and agents, have built an exceptional organization and demonstrate a level of expertise and leadership that is second-to-none in the real estate business today,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America and chair of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

“HomeServices is an outstanding organization,” said Stark. “When you combine the incredible strength of our people and the history of our success with Gino’s unsurpassed leadership and the spirit of innovation and the financial strength of HomeServices, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”

“We are committed to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona, California, and Nevada Properties’ continued growth and success,” concluded Blefari. “We look forward to working with Mark and his team and are very proud to welcome them to the HomeServices family.”

The acquisition extends HomeServices’ national footprint to Nevada and further expands its presence in both Arizona and California. Now serving these areas from the HomeServices family of companies are Tucson-based Long Realty, a HomeServices company since 1999; San Diego-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (2002); Fresno-based Guarantee Real Estate (2013); and Silicon Valley-based Intero Real Estate (2014).

HomeServices is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

© 2021 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.

Brooks Running Sets Net Zero Target

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Brooks Running announced its new 2030 planet strategy, a science-backed approach that will take responsibility for the impact the brand has on the environment.

“At Brooks, we think that climate change demands urgent and universal action,” said David Kemp, Senior Manager of Corporate Responsibility at Brooks Running. “Because more than 150 million people worldwide run outside, it’s critical that we take responsibility for our impact on the planet.”

While the brand’s sustainability efforts span over a decade, this initiative will accelerate commitments, with a focus on climate action and sustainable consumption.

Brooks’ commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 will be achieved by first reducing emissions in line with climate science, with Brooks’ Science Based Targets to reduce carbon emissions recently validated by the Science Based Target initiative. Brooks has developed a robust climate roadmap on how they will achieve these emissions reductions with key strategies to decarbonize including converting factories to renewable electricity, converting textile yarns to low impact dyeing processes and sourcing materials with recycled content.

In partnership with ClimateCare, Brooks will purchase high-quality carbon credits from projects that avoid or reduce carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. The portfolio of projects includes projects from the U.S., where Brooks is headquartered and a majority of product is sold, and international countries where Brooks employees are located and some of the brands product and materials are manufactured. In addition to meeting strict criteria for selecting carbon offsets projects, each of the projects provides additional environmental and social benefits – including a focus on improving air quality and advancing health and well-being.

The brand will make an immediate impact by offsetting emissions from its highest-volume style, the Ghost. The Ghost 14, launching July 1st, is Brooks’ first carbon neutral product. In addition to reducing the product’s environmental impact by incorporating recycled materials, Brooks will purchase carbon offsets from projects that meet strict criteria for making a meaningful difference in addressing climate change.

Brooks plans to reduce its usage of non-renewable resources by incorporating more sustainable materials into products while minimizing the waste associated within the manufacturing process.

In 2022, the brand will launch a take-back program, which will lay the groundwork for a fully circular shoe in the years to come. By 2023, Brooks will move to 100% recycled polyester in footwear and new apparel materials and is committed to zero footwear manufacturing waste to landfill, incineration, and the environment by 2025.

“We believe that the run can change everything: your day, your life and even the world. But to make those benefits available to all, we need to participate on a global scale,” Kemp said. “We’ve charted our program to support United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and joined The Climate Pledge, because partnerships will be critical to achieving our ambitious goals.”

© 2021 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 Specialty Insurance Offers Directors & Officers Liability and Professional Indemnity Policies in Ireland

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Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has added to its customized suite of Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability and Professional Indemnity policies, for customers in Ireland.

The company has launched a new suite of Professional First coverages that includes Architects, Engineers & Consultants Professional Indemnity and Project Specific Professional Indemnity, Design & Construct Liability and Miscellaneous Professional Indemnity Insurance.

These new products expand BHSI’s capabilities in Ireland by offering primary solutions to customers in the Commercial Professional Indemnity space. In Ireland, BHSI already provides primary solutions via its Executive First Directors & Officers Liability Insurance for commercial customers and Professional First Asset Management Liability and Financial Institutions Civil Liability for financial institutions.

“Companies in the Irish market face growing and evolving management and professional indemnity exposures at the same time they are navigating challenging and uncertain insurance market conditions,” said Caoimhe Gormley, Executive & Professional Lines, Ireland. “BHSI is pleased to provide companies across Ireland with a wide range of new Executive & Professional Lines options backed by the certainty of stellar financial strength, our long-view underwriting, and the excellent service that comes with our CLAIMS IS OUR PRODUCT® philosophy.”

© 2021 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