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

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



Iscar is a manufacturer of metalworking tools in Israel, of which few had heard until the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, blessed it with an investment in 2006. It was the first time that Berkshire Hathaway had invested by Buffett in a non-US company and one of the largest foreign investments in an Israeli company, which each amounted to around $ 4 billion for 80% of the metal works.

Buffett bought the rest of Iscar in 2013 for another $ 2 billion, valuing the company at $ 10 billion. Although Iscar does not disclose its numbers, Haaretz states that, according to "sources close to the company," Iscar has earned about $ 6 billion for Berkshire Hathaway since its initial investment, which means the bet is at least for itself paid and possibly about $ 1

billion in profits. The company's revenue was booming and Iscar is now the crown jewel of the IMC Group, one of Berkshire Hathaway's largest global metals corporations.

When he took over Iscar, Buffett attributed the company's success to his exceptional management. This, apparently, is still the reason why this remote maker in Israel's Upper Galilee remains a quiet powerhouse. According to Haaretz, the secret to Iscar's attractiveness and success lies in the very reasons some would have expected it to fail.

Iscar is headquartered in Migdal, not far from the border with Lebanon, where military clashes occur. It is a long way from the hip Tel Aviv, where much of Israel's innovation takes place. But it is the second largest employer in the region after arms company Rafael, and its 3,500 employees are reportedly fully committed to the company, perhaps because there are fewer opportunities in the north than in the capital.

But that's not the only reason why the employees of Buffett and Iscar love the company. Another reason is that Iscar seems as committed to employees as it is to the company. It provides almost complete job security, and it's no snobbery whom it hires. At Iscar, which hires engineers from local schools and recruits management from its ranks, there is almost no revenue, rather than looking for students from prestigious US universities, for example. Iscar also trains talented local workers with minimal training, providing them with production and sales positions. And of the 3,500 employees, more than 1,000 are Druze or Arab, which accounts for an unusually high proportion of non-Jewish workers in an Israeli company.

A source told Haaretz, "When a company like Iscar gives it a chance As a resident with a car, fancy food, and professional interest, he's ready to give his soul [in return]. People arrive at 5 in the morning and leave at 11 in the evening. They know that they do not get such an opportunity anywhere else. For non-Jewish employees who can not work in a defense company like Rafael, this motivation is even greater. "

Inter-religious employment

Iscar is not the only Israeli company that attracts foreign investors products and diverse workforce. In December PepsiCo. bought SodaStream, which is best known as the manufacturer of a carbonated household product. The purchase of $ 3.2 billion will allow Pepsi to expand its range of healthy beverages.

SodaStream employs workers from across the Israeli population. However, the company was involved in 2014 in international controversy and boycotts, as its main work was in the occupied West Bank. The factory closed in 2015 and opened a new facility in the Negev desert.

More recently, SodaStream has attempted to position itself as a politically progressive enterprise that emphasizes the equal treatment of its Jewish, Palestinian, and Bedouin employees. who work side by side. This year, SodaStream opened a new factory in Gaza. CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in December, "We want people in Gaza to have jobs, real jobs, because where prosperity prevails, peace can prevail."

SodaStream On the last day of the Muslim holiday that Ramadan found in May also what Quartz announced at the time, Israel's biggest Iftar celebration of all time. Nearly 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians attended the assembly at their factory in Rahat, southern Israel, where a large Bedouin population lives to break bread after fasting on vacation.

Birnbaum recently held a TEDX talk in Tel Aviv explaining how he brought the then $ 6 million company off the brink of bankruptcy in 2006 to a point where it became an attractive acquisition destination by focusing not only on the business, but also on the people working in it.

What Birnbaum says the first time On the day in 2007, 150 Palestinians joined the 600-strong SodaStream workforce, three Jewish-Israeli employees stepped back in protest. "But 597 have remained," says Birnbaum optimistically. And soon all the workers not only worked together but created the tradition of watching each other's holidays.


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