Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is paying $2.05 billion for the remaining 20 percent of IMC International Metalworking Co, otherwise known as Isracar, completing the buyout that began with the giant $4 billion purchase of 80 percent of the company in 2006.
“We are delighted to acquire the portion of the company that was retained by the Wertheimer family when IMC first became a member of the Berkshire group of companies,” Buffett said Wednesday in a statement.
“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, 82, said.
Isracar employs more than 2,000 people in Israel and 7,500 others around the world.
Buffett has literally fallen in love with Israel. The 2006 purchase of most of Isracar was Buffett’s largest-ever investment outside of the United States.
When he visited Israel prior to the spectacular purchase of the precision carbide cutting tools company, he said, “If you’re going to the Middle East to look for oil, you can skip Israel. If you’re looking for brains, look no further. Israel has shown that it has a disproportionate amount of brains and energy.”
Since then, an American-Israeli consortium drilling off the Haifa coast has made the world’s largest discovery of natural gas in the past 20 years, with a strong possibility of commercial quantities of oil.
Buffet’s purchase of the rest of Isracar on Wednesday helped strengthen the shekel against the dollar, with the going rate for a greenback now less than 3.58 shekels.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu