Profile: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKb)
19 Sep 2014
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire), incorporated on June 16, 1998, is a holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of diverse business activities. The Company is engaged in the insurance businesses conducted on both a primary basis and a reinsurance basis, a freight rail transportation business and a group of utility, and energy generation and distribution businesses. Berkshire also owns and operates a number of other businesses engaged in a variety of activities. In October 2012, HomeServices acquired a 66.7% interest in the residential real estate brokerage franchise network in the United States. In May 2013, Berkshire acquired the remaining 20% stake in IMC International Metalworking Companies BV.
Insurance and Reinsurance Businesses
Berkshire’s insurance and reinsurance business activities are conducted through numerous domestic and foreign-based insurance entities. Berkshire’s insurance businesses provide insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks worldwide and also reinsure life, accident and health risks worldwide. The Company’s insurance underwriting operations are consisted of the sub-groups, including GEICO and its subsidiaries, General Re and its subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group. GEICO insurance subsidiaries include Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO General Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company, GEICO Casualty Company, GEICO Advantage Insurance Company, GEICO Choice Insurance Company and GEICO Secure Insurance Company. These companies primarily offers private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, GEICO insures motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles and small commercial fleets and acts as an agent for other insurers who offer homeowners, boat and life insurance to individuals. GEICO markets its policies primarily through direct response methods in which applications for insurance are submitted directly to the companies via the Internet or by telephone.
General Re Corporation (General Re) is the holding company of General Reinsurance Corporation (GRC) and its subsidiaries and affiliates. GRC’s subsidiaries include General Reinsurance AG, an international reinsurer based in Germany. General Re subsidiaries conduct business activities globally in 51 cities and provide insurance and reinsurance coverages throughout the world. General Re provides property/casualty insurance and reinsurance, life/health reinsurance and other reinsurance intermediary and risk management, underwriting management and investment management services.
General Re’s property/casualty reinsurance business in North America is conducted through GRC. Property/casualty operations in North America are also conducted through 16 branch offices in the United States and Canada. Reinsurance activities are marketed directly to clients without involving a broker or intermediary. General Re’s property/casualty business in North America also includes specialty insurers (primarily the General Star and Genesis companies). These specialty insurers underwrite primarily liability and workers’ compensation coverages on an excess and surplus basis and excess insurance for self-insured programs. General Re’s international property/casualty reinsurance business operations are conducted through internationally-based subsidiaries on a direct basis (through General Reinsurance AG, as well as several other General Re subsidiaries in 23 countries) and through brokers (primarily through Faraday, which owns the managing agent of Syndicate 435 at Lloyd’s of London and provides capacity and participates in 100% of the results of Syndicate 435).
General Re’s North American and international life, health, long-term care and disability reinsurance coverages are written on an individual and group basis. Most of this business is written on a proportional treaty basis, with the exception of the United States group health and disability business, which is predominately written on an excess treaty basis. Lesser amounts of life and disability business are written on a facultative basis. The life/health business is marketed on a direct basis.
The Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group (BHRG) operates from offices located in Stamford, Connecticut. Business activities are conducted through a group of subsidiary companies, led by National Indemnity Company (NICO) and Columbia Insurance Company (Columbia). BHRG provides principally excess and quota-share reinsurance to other property and casualty insurers and reinsurers. BHRG’s underwriting activities also include life reinsurance and life annuity business written through Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska and financial guaranty insurance written through Berkshire Hathaway Assurance Corporation.
BHRG writes catastrophe excess-of-loss treaty reinsurance contracts. BHRG also writes individual policies for primarily large or otherwise unusual discrete risks on both an excess direct and facultative reinsurance basis, referred to as individual risk, which includes policies covering terrorism, natural catastrophe and aviation risks. A catastrophe excess policy provides protection to the counterparty from the accumulation of primarily property losses arising from a single loss event or series of related events. Catastrophe and individual risk policies may provide amounts of indemnification per contract and a single loss event may produce losses under a number of contracts. BHRG also underwrites traditional non-catastrophe insurance and reinsurance coverages, referred to as multi-line property/casualty business.
The Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group is a collection of primary insurance operations that provide a range of insurance coverages to insureds located principally in the United States. NICO and certain affiliates underwrite motor vehicle and general liability insurance to commercial enterprises on both an admitted and excess and surplus basis. This business is written nationwide primarily through insurance agents and brokers and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. U.S. Investment Corporation (USIC), through its four subsidiaries led by United States Liability Insurance Company, is a specialty insurer that underwrites commercial, professional and personal lines of insurance on an admitted and excess and surplus basis. Policies are marketed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through wholesale and retail insurance agents. USIC companies underwrite and market 110 distinct specialty property and casualty insurance products. Medical Protective Corporation (MedPro) is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. MedPro offers products and solutions through its subsidiaries, The Medical Protective Company and Princeton Insurance Company and is a primary healthcare malpractice insurance coverage and patient safety solutions to physicians, dentists, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities. Other insurance operations include the Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (BHHC), a group of six insurance companies that primarily offers standalone workers’ compensation, commercial auto and commercial property coverages.
Through Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC (BNSF) Railway, BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately 32,500 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2012. BNSF owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,500 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads’ tracks. As of December 31, 2012, the total BNSF Railway system, including single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings, consisted of approximately 50,500 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF except for approximately 10,500 miles operated under trackage rights.
BNSF is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and through BNSF Railway Company operates railroad systems in North America. In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. Over half of the freight revenues of BNSF are covered by contractual agreements of varying durations. BNSF’s primary routes, including trackage rights, allow it to access major cities and ports in the western and southern United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
Utilities and Energy Businesses
MidAmerican’s businesses are managed as separate operating units. MidAmerican’s domestic regulated energy interests are consisted of two regulated utility companies serving more than three million retail customers, two interstate natural gas pipeline companies with approximately 16,600 miles of pipeline and a design capacity of approximately 7.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and a 50% interest in electric transmission businesses. Its Great Britain electricity distribution subsidiaries serve about 3.9 million electricity end-users. In addition, MidAmerican’s interests include a diversified portfolio of domestic independent power projects, a hydroelectric facility in the Philippines, the residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States and the residential real estate brokerage franchise network in the United States.
PacifiCorp is a regulated electric utility company, serving regulated retail electric customers in portions of Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California. The combined service territory’s diverse regional economy ranges from rural, agricultural and mining areas to urban, manufacturing and government service centers. As a vertically integrated electric utility, PacifiCorp owns approximately 10,600 net megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.
MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company, serving regulated retail electric and natural gas customers primarily in Iowa and also in portions of Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. MEC has a diverse customer base consisting of urban and rural residential customers and a range of commercial and industrial customers. In addition to retail sales and natural gas transportation, MEC sells regulated electricity principally to markets operated by regional transmission organizations and regulated natural gas to other utilities and market participants on a wholesale basis and sells non-regulated electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets. As a vertically integrated electric and gas utility, MEC owns approximately 7,400 net megawatts of generation capacity.
The natural gas pipelines consist of Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern Natural) and Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Kern River). Northern Natural is based in Nebraska and owns interstate natural gas pipeline system in the United States reaching from southern Texas to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Northern Natural’s pipeline system consists of approximately 14,900 miles of natural gas pipelines. Northern Natural also operates three underground natural gas storage facilities and two liquefied natural gas storage peaking units.
Kern River is based in Utah and owns an interstate natural gas pipeline system that consists of approximately 1,700 miles and extends from supply areas in the Rocky Mountains to consuming markets in Utah, Nevada and California. Kern River transports natural gas for electric utilities and natural gas distribution utilities, major oil and natural gas companies or affiliates of such companies, electricity generating companies, energy marketing and trading companies, and financial institutions. The Great Britain utilities consist of Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited (Northern Powergrid (Northeast)) and Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc (Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire)), which own a substantial Great Britain electricity distribution network that delivers electricity to end-users in northeast England in an area covering approximately 10,000 square miles. The distribution companies primarily charge supply companies regulated tariffs for the use of electrical infrastructure. MidAmerican also owns HomeServices of America, Inc. (HomeServices), a full-service residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States. HomeServices offers integrated real estate services, including mortgage originations and mortgage banking primarily through joint ventures, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties, relocation services and other home-related services. It operates under 27 residential real estate brand names with over 16,000 sales agents and in nearly 375 brokerage offices in 21 states.
Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses
Berkshire’s numerous and diverse manufacturing, service and retailing businesses. Marmon Holdings, Inc. (Marmon) consists of approximately 140 manufacturing and service businesses that operate independently within 11 diverse business sectors. These sectors are distribution services, electrical and plumbing products, industrial products, crane services, engineered wire and cable, transportation services and engineered products, food service equipment, highway technologies, retail home improvement products, retail store fixtures, and water treatment.
Distribution Services supplies specialty metal pipe and tubing, bar and sheet products to markets, including construction, industrial, aerospace and many others. Electrical and Plumbing Products is engaged in the distribution, supplying electrical building wire primarily for residential and commercial construction, and copper tube for the plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration and industrial markets, through the wholesale channel. Industrial Products consists of metal fasteners and fastener coatings for the construction, industrial and other markets, gloves for industrial markets, portable lighting equipment for mining and safety markets, overhead electrification equipment for mass transit systems, custom-machined aluminum and brass forgings for the construction, energy, recreation and other industries, brass fittings and valves for commercial and industrial applications, and drawn aluminum tubing and extruded aluminum shapes for the construction, automotive, appliance, medical and other markets.
Crane Services is engaged in providing the leasing and operation of mobile cranes primarily to the energy, mining and petrochemical markets. Engineered Wire and Cable is engaged in supplying electrical and electronic wire and cable for energy related markets and other industries. Transportation Services and Engineered Products includes manufacturing, leasing and maintenance of railroad tank cars, leasing of intermodal tank containers, in-plant rail services, manufacturing of bi-modal railcar movers, wheel, axle and gear sets for light rail transit and gear products for locomotives, manufacturing of steel tank heads, and services, equipment and technology for processing and distributing sulfur.
Food Service Equipment is engaged in supplying commercial food preparation equipment for restaurants and shopping carts for retail stores. Highway Technologies primarily serve the heavy-duty highway transportation industry with trailers, fifth wheel coupling devices and undercarriage products, such as brake parts and suspension systems, and also serving the light vehicle aftermarket with clutches and related products. Retail Home Improvement Products is engaged in supplying electrical and plumbing products through the home center channel. Retail Store Fixtures provides shelving systems, other merchandising displays and related services for retail stores, as well as work and garden gloves sold at retail. Water Treatment includes residential water softening, purification and refrigeration filtration systems, treatment systems for industrial markets including power generation, oil and gas, chemical, and pulp and paper, gear drives for irrigation systems and cooling towers, and air-cooled heat exchangers.
McLane Company, Inc. (McLane) provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include convenience stores, discount retailers, wholesale clubs, drug stores, military bases, quick service restaurants and casual dining restaurants. Operations include grocery distribution, foodservice distribution, beverage distribution, international logistics and software development. McLane’s foodservice distribution unit, based in Carrollton, Texas, focuses on serving the quick service restaurant industry. Operations are conducted through 18 facilities in 16 states. The foodservice distribution unit services more than 19,000 chain restaurants nationwide.
Other Manufacturing, Other Service and Retailing Businesses
Berkshire’s apparel manufacturing businesses include manufacturers of a range of clothing and footwear. Businesses engaged in the manufacture and distribution of clothing products include Fruit of the Loom, Inc. (Fruit), Russell Brands, LLC (Russell), Vanity Fair Brands, LP (VFB), Garan and Fechheimer Brothers. Berkshire’s footwear businesses include H.H. Brown Shoe Group, Justin Brands and Brooks Sports. Fruit, Russell and VFB (together FOL) is primarily a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of basic apparel, underwear and athletic apparel and products. Products, under the Fruit of the Loom and JERZEES labels are primarily sold in the mass merchandise and wholesale markets. In the VFB product line, Vassarette, Bestform and Curvation are sold in the mass merchandise market, while Vanity Fair and Lily of France products are sold in the mid-tier chains and department stores. FOL also markets and sells athletic uniforms, apparel, sports equipment and balls to team dealers; college licensed tee shirts and fleecewear to college bookstores and mid-tier merchants; and athletic apparel, sports equipment and balls to sporting goods retailers under the Russell Athletic and Spalding brands. Additionally, Spalding markets and sells balls in the mass merchandise market and dollar store channels.
Garan designs, manufactures, imports and sells apparel primarily for children, including boys, girls, toddlers and infants. Products are sold under its own trademark Garanimals and private labels of its customers. Garan also licenses its registered trademark Garanimals to independent third parties. Garan conducts its business through operating subsidiaries located in the United States, Central America and Asia. Fechheimer Brothers manufactures, distributes and sells uniforms, principally for the public service and safety markets, including police, fire, postal and military markets. Fechheimer Brothers is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Justin Brands and H.H. Brown Shoe Group manufacture and distribute work, rugged outdoor and casual shoes and western-style footwear under a number of brand names, including Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona, Chippewa, Carolina, Sofft, Double-H Boots, Eurosoft, and Softspots. Acme Building Brands (Acme) manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brick and Jenkins Brick), concrete block (Featherlite) and cut limestone (Texas Quarries). In addition, Acme distributes a range of other building products of other manufacturers, including glass block, floor and wall tile, wood flooring and other masonry products. Acme also sells ceramic floor and wall tile, as well as marble, granite and other stones through its subsidiary, American Tile and Stone. Benjamin Moore & Co. (Benjamin Moore) is a formulator, manufacturer and retailer of a range of architectural coatings, available principally in the United States and Canada. Products include water-thinnable and solvent-thinnable general purpose coatings (paints, stains and clear finishes) for use by the general public, contractors and industrial and commercial users. Products are marketed under various registered brand names, including Regal, Super Spec, MoorGard, Aura, Nattura, ben, Coronado, Insl-x and Lenmar.
Johns Manville (JM) is a manufacturer and marketer of products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications. JM serves markets that include aerospace, automotive and transportation, air handling, appliance, HVAC, pipe insulation, filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy. The Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) is a carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of production. Shaw designs and manufactures over 3,000 styles of tufted carpet, tufted and woven rugs, laminate and wood flooring for residential and commercial use under about 30 brand and trade names and under certain private labels. Shaw also provides installation services and sells ceramic and vinyl tile along with sheet vinyl. Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, utility, cargo and office trailers, buses and pontoon boats. Albecca Inc. (Albecca) does business primarily under the Larson-Juhl name. Albecca designs, manufactures and distributes a range of products, including wood and metal molding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment and other framing supplies in the United States, Canada and 15 countries outside of North America.
FlightSafety International Inc. (FSI) is engaged in professional aviation training services to individuals, businesses (including certain commercial aviation companies) and the United States. Government. FSI primarily provides training to pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians, flight attendants and dispatchers who operate and support a range of business, commercial and military aircraft. NetJets Inc. (NJ) is a provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. TTI, Inc. (TTI) is a specialty distributor of passive, interconnect, electromechanical and discrete components used by customers in the manufacturing and assembling of electronic products. TTI’s customer base includes original equipment manufacturers, electronic manufacturing services, original design manufacturers, military and commercial customers, as well as design and system engineers. TTI services a range of industries, including telecommunications, medical devices, computers and office equipment, aerospace, automotive and consumer electronics.
Finance and Financial Products
The Company’s finance and financial products businesses include manufactured housing and finance (Clayton Homes), transportation equipment leasing (XTRA), furniture leasing (CORT), as well as various miscellaneous financing activities. Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton) is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. As of December 31, 2012, Clayton operated 34 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton’s homes are marketed in 48 states through a network of 1,441 retailers, including 323 company-owned home centers. XTRA is a transportation equipment lessor operating under the XTRA Lease brand name. XTRA manages a diverse fleet of approximately 82,000 units located at 58 facilities throughout the United States and two facilities in Canada. The fleet includes over-the-road and storage trailers, chassis, temperature controlled vans and flatbed trailers. CORT Business Services Corporation is a provider of rental relocation services, including rental furniture, accessories and related services in the rent-to-rent segment of the furniture rental industry.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc
3555 FARNAM STREET
OMAHA NE 68131