Wertheimer Says Iscar Can Withstand Gaza Turmoil

The Israeli based company owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Iscar Metalworking Cos., will be able to weather the storm between Lebanon and Syria as the Gaza conflict heats up, said the company chairman Eitan Wertheimer.

Iscar works in other countries and has a “fallback position” in place, including its inventories, said Wertheimer on Bloomberg television during an interview recently.

“We operate around the world, we have thousands and thousands of people everywhere,” said Wertheimer recently in Caesarea, which is about 62 miles (100 km) south of Tefen and headquarters in northern Israel. “We’ve been used to it ever since we were here.”

Iscar was founded in the year 1952 by Stef Wertheimer, father of the current chairman. They make cutting gear for the auto manufacturing and aerospace industries. During 2006, Berkshire Hathaway paid $4 billion to acquire an 80% stake in this business. The company currently has about 11,000 employees on a worldwide scale.

Just recently, there were at least 73 rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Since November 14, this brings the total to around 900 rockets. We learn this from the Israel Defense Forces. The air raid sirens have also needed to sound twice in Tel Aviv very recently. At the time, Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted four rockets that were about to strike the land. On November 16, there was also a rocket fired upon Jerusalem. There hasn’t been an attack in this area in decades. All in all, out of the last 11 years, a total of 14,000 rockets are believed to be fired from this region.

While all this is happening, the Syrian civil war is also threatening to spill over on the northern border of Israel. Just this past week, a Syrian mortar shell brought upon an Israeli retaliatory strike from the Army.

The 82-year-old CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Warren Buffett, has praised Wertheimer and other managers like Danny Goldman and Jacob Harpaz throughout his annual letters since Berkshire Hathaway acquired the firm. In 2009, while its rivals were losing money, the toolmaker made acquisitions and also reported profits. We learned this in the 2010 letter that Buffett wrote to his shareholders.

“Nothing stops Israel-based Iscar – not wars, recessions or competitors,” said Buffett.

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