Celebrated investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company has paid $2.05 billion for the remaining 20 percent of IMC International Metalworking Companies – known in Israel as Iscar — completing the buyout that began in 2006. The American magnate told reporters that he is already looking for the next Israeli company in which to invest.
“As you can surmise from the price we’re paying for the remaining interest, IMC has enjoyed very significant growth over the last seven years,” Buffett said in a statement.
Iscar was founded in 1952 by Stef Wertheimer as a producer of unique and innovative cutting tools for metalworking. The company’s headquarters are in the Tefen Industrial Zone in Israel’s Western Galilee region. From a single marketing and manufacturing facility in Israel, the company has expanded to a multinational firm with representation in over 50 countries.
Berkshire Hathaway bought the remaining stake of the Israeli cutting-tool firm from the Wertheimer family. In 2006, Berkshire paid a jaw-dropping $4 billion for 80 percent of the company.
Iscar chairman Eitan Wertheimer said Buffett’s investment in Israel represents a huge vote of confidence in the company and the country.
“This is the biggest ever investment in an Israeli company, and if Buffett says that it’s the best investment he has made, it isn’t because of our pretty eyes,” Wertheimer told Globes, “He is a man with an amazing mind, extraordinarily smart.”
Wertheimer also said that Buffett promised that Iscar would remain in Israel. “The most important thing from our point of view is that Buffett promised that as long as he lived, and we wish him good health, Iscar will not leave the borders of Israel,” Wertheimer said.
In a letter to shareholders on March 1, Buffett described Iscar as one of Berkshire’s five most profitable companies outside its insurance businesses.