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Home / Business / Why Warren Buffett bet on Israeli company Iscar paid off – Quartz at Work

Why Warren Buffett bet on Israeli company Iscar paid off – Quartz at Work



Iscar is a metalworking tool manufacturer in Israel that few people had heard of Omaha Omaha, Warren Buffett, blessed it with an investment in 2006. It was the first time Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway invested in a company outside the United States, and one of the largest foreign investments in an Israeli company, which together made up about $ 4 billion for 80% of the metal works.

Buffett bought the rest of Iscar for another $ 2 billion in 2013, and valued the company at $ 10 billion. Although Iscar does not disclose its figures, Haaretz reports that "sources close to the company" say that Iscar has made about $ 6 billion to Berkshire Hathaway since its first investment, which means that at least the effort has paid for itself and possibly Giving about $ 1

billion in profits. The company's sales have increased and Iscar is now the crown of the IMC Group, one of the world's largest international metalworking conglomerates, owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

When he bought Iscar, Buffett attributed the company's success to its exceptional management. Apparently, it is still the reason why this remote producer in Israel's upper Galilee region remains a quiet power plant. According to Haaretz, the secret to Iscar's appeal and success lies in the reasons why anyone could have expected it to fail.

Iscar is headquartered in Migdal, not far from the border with Lebanon, where military cuts occur. It is far from hip Tel Aviv, how much of Israel's innovation happens. But it is the second largest employer in the region, after the defense contractor Rafael, and its 3,500 workers are allegedly devoted to the company, perhaps partly because there are fewer opportunities in the north than in the capital.

However, it's not the only reason why Buffett and Iscar's employees love the company. Another reason is that Iscar seems to be so dedicated to employees as they are to the company. It provides almost total job security, and it is not snobby about who it hires. There is almost no turnover at Iscar, which hires engineers from local schools and recruits management within its ranks, instead of seeking students from prestigious US universities, for example. Iscar also trains talented local workers with minimal education and puts them into production and sales positions. And of the 3,500 employees, more than 1,000 are of grape or Arab origin, which is an unusually high proportion of non-Jewish workers in an Israeli company.

A source said to Haaretz: "When a company like Iscar gives an opportunity to a local resident, including a car, fancy food and professional interest, he is willing to give his soul [in return]. People arrive at 5am and Leaving at 11 o'clock at night, they know they will not have such an opportunity elsewhere. For those non-Jewish workers who cannot work in a defense company like Rafael, this motivation is even stronger. "

Interviewing

Iscar is not the only Israeli company to attract foreign investors with its products and diverse workforce. In December, PepsiCo. bought SodaStream, which is best known as the producer of a consumer home carbonation product. The $ 3.2 billion purchase gives Pepsi the opportunity to expand its healthy beverage.

SodaStream employs workers from all over Israel. But the company was taken up in international controversy and boycott in 2014 because the main factory was located in the occupied West Bank. The factory was released in 2015, and a new facility was opened in the Negev desert.

Later, SodaStream has attempted to position itself as a politically progressive company that emphasizes equal treatment of their Jewish, Palestinian and Bedouin employees, who work with each other This year, SodaStream opened a new factory in Gaza, where CEO Daniel Birnbaum listed in December : "We want Gaza's people to have jobs, real jobs, because where there is wealth, there can be peace."

SodaStream also hosted what the told quartz at that time was Israel's largest ever after celebration on the last day of the Muslim holiday, Ramadan, in May. Nearly 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians joined the gathering at the factory in the southern Israeli town of Rahat, home to a large Bedouin population, to break bread after vacationing.

Birnbaum recently gave a TEDX speech in Tel Aviv explaining how He took the $ 6 million company from the brink of bankruptcy in 2006 to the point where it became an attractive target for the acquisition by focusing not just on business , but on those who work in it.

Birnbaum says it on the first day when the 150 Palestinians joined the 600-strong SodaStream workforce in 2007, three Jewish-Israeli employees protested. "But 597 remained," Birnbaum says optimistically. And in short, all workers worked not only together, but created a tradition of observing each other's holidays.


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