Warren Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, boosted its portfolio with the $32 billion acquisition of manufacturer Precision Castparts Corp., but it also boosted the profile of the sometimes-anonymous industrial market.
The deal was sealed after Buffett spent only a half-hour with Precision Castparts CEO Mark Donegan before deciding that Donegan's "aerospace company was worthy of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s largest acquisition ever," according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.
"I've admired PCC's operation for a long time," Buffett said. "For good reasons, it is the supplier of choice for the world's aerospace industry, one of the largest sources of American exports."
Not everyone was impressed with the deal, however. Antony Currie of Reuters said that "Warren Buffet’s latest mega-deal lacks precision," and that the company "is a large, well-entrenched manufacturer in industries with a high barrier to entry. The company’s shares also have tumbled 40 percent from their peak in June last year. That smacks of just the sort of opportunity Buffett relishes."
Portland, OR-based Precision Castparts in May reported fiscal 2015 sales of $10 billion, up 5 percent year-over-year. And while Buffett's decision to pull the trigger on this deal speaks to his confidence in the company, it also underscores his confidence in the strength of the aerospace industry as well as the stability of the overall industrial market.
And it marks another distribution/manufacturing asset for Berkshire Hathaway. The company owns electronics components distributor TTI Inc. – No. 4 on MDM's 2015 Market Leaders list for electronics distributors – as well as IMC International Metalworking Cos., Marmon Holdings Inc. and McLane Co. Berkshire Hathaway also owns a key transportation asset in BSNF Railway Co.