I consider myself a bit of a Buffettphile – but I did not even know Berkshire had a sizeable agricultural machinery operation. Sure agriculture has been good and because the capital equipment is a lean off that it has been very good. But this throw-away quote from the annual letter is astounding:
Vic Mancinelli again set a record at CTB, our agricultural equipment operation. We purchased CTB in 2002 for $139 million. It has subsequently distributed $180 million to Berkshire, last year earned $124 million pre-tax and has $109 million in cash. Vic has made a number of bolt-on acquisitions over the years, including a meaningful one he signed up after year end.
This business has – in a decade – distributed well over 100 per cent of its purchase price in cash to Berkshire and its pre-tax earnings are roughly the acquisition price.
Of the thousands of listed companies in the world how many have been that good in the last decade. Surely not many.