Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buffett's Israel Unit Iscar Seeking More Acquisitions

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett's Iscar Metalworking Cos., the Israeli toolmaker that agreed to buy Japan's Tungaloy Corp. in September, is seeking more acquisitions and sees the global financial slump as a buying opportunity, Chairman Eitan Wertheimer said.

``I've learned from my guru to be greedy when others are fearful,'' Wertheimer said in an interview in Jerusalem, echoing a statement frequently made by Buffett. Iscar is part of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which made two acquisitions in October and has comitted $8 billion to buying stakes in General Electric Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Iscar, based in Tefen, northern Israel, makes cutting gear for industries ranging from aerospace to auto manufacturing, for clients including Toyota Motor Corp. Berkshire paid $4 billion two years ago for an 80 percent stake in Iscar, which competes with market leader Sandvik AB. Iscar is looking for industrial companies that are in the same business, according to Wertheimer.

``We like to stick to basics,'' he said. ``If you sleep on the floor, you can't fall out of bed.''

Iscar agreed Sept. 21 to buy a 71.5 percent stake in Japan's Tungaloy, a manufacturer of tools for cars and airplanes. The deal was for $1 billion, Haaretz reported.

Iscar is ``Gillette on steroids'' in the metal-cutting tools industry, said Shai Dardashti, managing partner of New York-based Dardashti Capital Management. The Berkshire shareholder cites Iscar's ``tremendous innovation'' and its commitment to research and development.

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