Forest River to Triple Its Canadian Sales of Electric Buses

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River is experiencing strong demand in Canada for its new ZEV shuttle buses thanks to its recent strategic partnership with Lightning eMotors.

The company is projecting that it will triple its sales in the Canadian market.

Forest River is already selling 10,000 units per year in the Class 4 to 6 shuttle-bus space under its Starcraft, Glaval, and Champion brands. The co-produced Forest River/Lightning eMotors ZEV bus partnership aims to build up to 7,500 zero-emission shuttle buses over the next 4.5 years.

Lightning eMotors is manufacturing the zero-emission-vehicle (“ZEV”) powertrain systems at their 231,000 square foot facility in Loveland, Colorado and shipping the powertrains to Forest River’s factory in Goshen, Indiana, for final assembly of the Class 4 and 5 all-electric passenger buses. Forest River is dedicating 100,000 square feet to install Lightning eMotors’ powertrains.

The vehicles that Forest River and Lightning eMotors will co-produce are Class 4 and 5 shuttle buses with gross vehicle weight ratings ranging from 14,500 to 19,500 pounds. The buses will feature battery configurations from 80kWh to more than 160kWh using industry-leading battery thermal management systems. These vehicles support ranges on a single charge between 80 and 160 miles and can recharge over a lunch break using Lightning eMotors’ DC fast charge infrastructure with integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities.

Available configurations will have between 12 and 33 passenger seats with ADA options available, and bus lengths of 20 to 34 feet. Other features include a modern digital-dash display, hill-hold functionality for safety, advanced telematics, analytics, and a mobile app for drivers and fleet managers.

Forest River’s 100-plus bus dealership locations throughout the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to sell and service these vehicles.

All vehicles will be compliant with the Federal Transit Administration’s “Buy America” and the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Buy American” guidelines. Under the guidelines, the federal share of eligible capital costs is 80 percent of the net capital project cost.

© 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.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: Here Are Buffett’s Criteria for Buying a Stock

What are Warren Buffett’s criteria for buying a stock? They are very straightforward. They are all about understanding a company, projecting its future earnings, and evaluating the quality of a company’s management. As Buffett notes, “It is simple, but not easy.”

“The criteria for selecting a stock is really the criteria for looking at a business. We are looking for a business we can understand,” Warren Buffett said at the 1998 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “That means they sell a product that we think we understand, and we understand the nature of the competition, what could go wrong with it over time. And then when we find that business we try to figure out whether the economics of it means the earning power over the next five, or ten, or fifteen years is likely to be good and getting better or poor and getting worse. But we try to evaluate that future stream. And then we try to decide whether we’re getting in with some people that we feel comfortable being in with. And then we try to decide what’s an appropriate price for what we’ve seen up to that point.”

Buffett’s full explanation of his criteria for buying a stock

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.

Berkshire’s Pilot Corporation Acquisition Will Not Include Its Convenience Stores

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of the majority ownership of the Pilot Corporation, which is scheduled to be completed by 2024, will not include 40 of Pilot’s convenience stores. The stores have been sold to Casey’s General Stores, Inc. for $220 million in an all-cash transaction.

Pilot’s convenience stores are owned and operated independently from its travel center and energy businesses and were not included in the Berkshire Hathaway transaction.

In 2017, Berkshire took a 38.6% stake in Pilot, the largest operator of truck stops and rest stops in North America. The company has 750 locations under the Pilot and Flying J brands.

Berkshire is purchasing its equity position from the Haslam family, and Jimmy Haslam, the son of the company’s founder Jim Haslam, will remain in charge when the acquisition is completed. Pilot is currently ranked No. 10 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

The 40 Pilot stores will extend Casey’s presence in Tennessee and Kentucky with well-established locations primarily in the attractive Knoxville, Tennessee, market.

© 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 and Vitol Sign $250 Million Joint Venture

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Vitol, a Bogotá, Colombia-based oil trader, and Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD have formed a partnership to provide fleet mobility as a service in select markets worldwide. Together they will offer municipal, corporate and others a comprehensive solution including electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and depot design.

The partners have committed an initial $250 million to the initiative, targeted at organizations, private and public, looking to decarbonize their fleets through electrification. The organizations will benefit from access to capital and the partners’ expertise in installing and managing the required infrastructure, as well as the efficient management of power requirements.

Vitol is already in the process of deploying over 300 electric buses in Bogotá and is seeking additional opportunities in South America and further afield.

Andrew de Pass, Head of Renewables, Vitol Inc said: “We are excited by the potential and intend to grow our fleet tenfold in the coming years. Fleet owners are looking to minimize emissions and our proposition enables them to do so with minimal capital outlay and outsourced operational risk.”

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.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: No Distinction Between Growth and Value

Should you be investing in growth stocks or value stocks is a common question. And TV pundits spend a lot of time discussing which category is outperforming the other. However, Warren Buffett dismisses such talk, as he doesn’t believe those categories are separable from each other.

“Well, the question about growth and value…they are not two distinct categories of business,” Warren Buffett said at the 2000 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If you knew what it was going to be able to disgorge in cash between now and Judgment Day, you could come to a precise figure as to what it is worth today. Now, elements of that can be the ability to use additional capital at good rates, and most growth companies that are characterized as growth companies have that as a characteristic. But there is no distinction in our minds between growth and value. Every business we look at as being a value proposition. The potential for growth and the likelihood of good economics being attached to that growth are part of the equation in evaluation. But they’re all value decisions. A company that pays no dividends growing a hundred percent a year, you know, is losing money. Now, that’s a value decision. You have to decide how much value you’re going to get.”

Buffett’s full explanation on growth and value

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.

Kraft Heinz Acquires Brazilian Condiments & Sauces Manufacturer

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The Kraft Heinz Company has entered into an agreement to acquire Companhia Hemmer Indústria e Comércio, a Brazilian company focused on condiments and sauces.

The acquisition of Hemmer – a 106-year-old company headquartered in Blumenau, Santa Catarina – is designed to expand consumers’ taste options in Brazil, while supporting Kraft Heinz’s strategy of growing its International Taste Elevation product platform and its presence in emerging markets.

“This acquisition offers us a valuable opportunity to accelerate our international growth strategy centered around Taste Elevation — our portfolio of high-quality products that enhance the taste of food,” said Rafael Oliveira, International Zone President at Kraft Heinz. “Hemmer is a legendary company in Brazil, growing net sales significantly, and will bring a delicious and diverse portfolio of products to Kraft Heinz.”

The combination aims to accelerate the growth of both companies, expanding Kraft Heinz’s presence in Brazil and leveraging its already successful expansion in condiments and sauces. Hemmer will benefit from Kraft Heinz’s distribution network and go-to-market model, including the growing foodservice channel in Brazil.

“In the last few years, Hemmer has been further strengthening itself as a food company synonymous with flavor, quality, and portfolio variety. We are extremely honored by this potential acquisition and the entire expansion potential this negotiation offers by continuing our family history in the region,” said Christian Luef, Hemmer CEO.

The completion of this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals by CADE (Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense).

The acquisition continues to expand Kraft Heinz’s focus on the international market. In June 2021, Kraft Heinz acquired Assan Foods, a rapidly growing sauces-focused business, from Turkish conglomerate Kibar Holding.

© 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-Backed BYD’s New E-Platform 3.0 Enables Ranges Exceeding 620 miles

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD has officially launched the e-platform 3.0 for pure electric vehicles. With outstanding advantages in intelligence, efficiency, safety, and aesthetics, the e-platform 3.0 aims to promote new energy vehicle’s (NEVs’) performance in safety and low-temperature driving range as well as improving intelligent driving experiences.

The e-platform 3.0 will help BYD develop more efficient and safer new intelligent electric vehicles (EVs). The new-generation BYD e-platform covers vehicles of varying sizes and will be open to the industry to facilitate the development of intelligent EVs worldwide.

Built upon the e-platform 3.0, the unveiled Ocean-X concept is a mid-size sporty sedan with high performance. The Ocean-X brings brand new experiences in performance and intelligent driving thanks to the fully integrated blade batteries in the car body, an 8-in-1 electric powertrain, and an all-wheel-drive architecture.

Equipped with ultra-safe blade batteries integrated into the car body, the e-platform 3.0 builds up a special pure electric vehicle frame structure to increase the rigidity of the vehicle.

The new platform enables ranges exceeding 1,000 km (620 miles) through the world’s first 8-in-1 electric powertrain. In addition, the world’s first fast charging technology enables a range up to 150 km (93 miles) after a 5-minute charging. The original designed direct cooling and heating system for batteries increases the thermal efficiency by up to 20% while reducing energy loss. Additionally, the heat pump system which can work at temperatures from -30℃ to 60℃, has increased the range by up to 20% in winter, since the system leverages the residual heat from surroundings, the powertrain, passenger compartment and even the batteries. Finally, the brand-new electric AWD system features 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration improved to 2.9 seconds, resulting in energy consumption compared to that of 2WD vehicles, while letting users enjoy the high performance of AWD EVs.

The e-platform 3.0 deeply integrated the drive, braking, and steering system. The industry’s first drive train domain controller has been developed through the full utilization of the electric motors’ fast response and has been applied on the model EA1. BYD’s smart cockpit domain controller and smart body domain controller are already in mass production. As for software, BYD has independently developed the BYD OS which decouples hardware and software, offering an elite collaboration system for high levels of intelligent driving.

On the side of aesthetics, the vehicle features shorter overhangs and a longer wheelbase, significantly expanding the passenger space; a lower body and a longer wheelbase liberate the vehicle’s aerodynamic design, decreasing the drag coefficient to 0.21Cd.

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.

Lessons From Warren Buffett: We Think About Value, Not Price

Warren Buffett points out that focusing on a stock’s price, rather than its value, is not the path to success.

“I think it’s almost impossible if you’re to do well in equities over a period of time if you go to bed every night thinking about the price of them. I mean, Charlie and I, we think about the value of them,” Warren Buffett pointed out at the 2003 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “If they closed the Stock Exchange tomorrow. . . It wouldn’t bother me and Charlie [Munger], at all. We would keep selling bricks, selling Dilly Bars, selling candy, writing insurance. You know, a lot of people have private companies and they never get a quote on them. You know, we bought See’s Candy in 1972. We haven’t had a quote on it since. Does that make us wonder about how we’re doing with See’s Candy? No, we looked at the company results. . . . There’s nothing wrong with focusing on company results. Focusing on the price of a stock is dynamite, because it really means that you think that the stock market knows more than you do…So you need to formulate your ideas on price and value, and if the price gets cheaper and you have funds, you know, logically, you should buy more . . . and we do that all the time. Where we make our mistakes, frankly, is where we focus on price and value and we start buying, and the price goes up a little and we quit, you know, like Charlie referred to, we might have done on See’s Candy. A mistake like that cost us $8 billion in the case of Walmart stock a few years ago, because it went up in price. And you know, we are not happy when things we’re buying go up in price. We want them to go down, and down, and down. And we’ll keep buying more, and hopefully we won’t run out of money.”

Hear Buffett’s full explanation

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.

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Adds to U.S. Accident & Health Team

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance has appointed Beth Freeman as Senior Vice President, Accident & Health Underwriting, and Ken Gumbiner as Senior Vice President, Accident & Health Sales.

“As we expand our A&H capabilities in the U.S., we are so pleased to have Beth and Ken, two exceptionally experienced A&H professionals, to lead these efforts and deliver the full value of BHSI’s brand, financial strength and CLAIMS IS OUR PRODUCT philosophy to the marketplace,” said Phil Gardham, BHSI’s Senior Vice President, U.S. Accident & Health, and Head of Medical Stop Loss. “As we grow our product portfolio, we are continuing to expand our Medical Stop Loss appetite, recently forged a new partnership to provide A&H programs for international students, and we will be launching new A&H products soon.”

Beth comes to BHSI with more than 25 years of experience underwriting an array of A&H products and was, most recently, AVP, A&H Underwriting and Program Business, at Companion Life Insurance Company. Previously, Beth served as Chief Underwriting Officer at Montgomery Management/Spectrum Underwriting Managers, a division of Companion Life. Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania.

Ken brings more than three decades of industry experience to his new role at BHSI and was, most recently, SVP, Head of Accident & Health Sales, North America, at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. Previously, Ken served as Executive Vice President of Sales, IHC Risk Solutions. Ken attended Union Bible College in Westfield, Indiana.

Beth will be based in Philadelphia and Ken will be based in the BHSI office in Indianapolis.

© 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 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 TTI Acquires Paragon Innovations

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Paragon Innovations, a privately held Engineering Design Services firm based in Richardson, Texas, has been acquired by Berkshire Hathaway’s TTI’s Exponential Technology Group (XTG), a leading specialty distributor of electronic components.

Paragon Innovations will continue to operate under the Paragon Innovations brand name, and Michael Wilkinson, company founder will remain in charge of the business as Vice President and General Manager, reporting to XTG President, Michael Knight. “After more than three decades of success and growth, we join Exponential Technology Group at TTI to complement their services and serve a broader clientele,” said Mike Wilkinson. “We look forward to this new venture and becoming part of the team.”

Commenting on the announcement, Knight said, “The Paragon team significantly expands the strength and capabilities of the design services offering within the Exponential Technology Group at TTI. The firm has a remarkable reputation and customer base that has been crafted over the course of thirty years of helping OEM’s big and small bring innovative new products to market. Their involvement runs from the concepting phase through full product design, proof of concept, testing and certification, and readiness for manufacturing.” He further observed, “Paragon perfectly complements Connected Development, the Raleigh, North Carolina IoT design services firm that was acquired by TTI in January of last year. Together, the two companies deploy over 50 electronic hardware, software and mechanical engineers who are experts in a full range of wireless and RF protocols, sensor connectivity, cellular certification, component selection and design for manufacturing.”

The acquisition allows Paragon the opportunity to partner with specialty electronic components distributors and design services that will strengthen its ability to provide services under one corporation, resulting in faster and better services to clients.

© 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 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.