May 9 - Three executives from companies that are a part of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett’s empire weigh in on growth prospects for this year and the challenges of managing costs in an uncertain economic environment.
We continue our economy 2012 series where we talked with CEOs from around the world. This time we're in Omaha Nebraska where we talked with CEOs. Of companies owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. I would guess and we could be up or 5% for the year. Probably nothing too much more than. The commercial furniture around segment where we do office -- around all the businesses that are expanding. It's it's been slow over the last few years although we've seen some moderate uptick over the last six to nine months. So businesses are starting to use some other capital. Certainly in our US businesses. I was feeling much better now. When he ten was better than 2000. What eleven was better and when he we're looking at and it went well as well. On the downside our European business with the European economy the way it is. Really -- -- for us right. The challenge for this year is raw material costs -- -- and particularly with. Very large raw material for us is up about 50% of -- That's due to really a crimp in the supplying. That was -- last here with the excessive warm weather and farmers rotating crops and do something more profitable. That's hit the peanut butter -- that every type of team that out there. Were we're struggling. Most of our furniture. Comes from. The Pacific rim or from China. And raw material costs along petroleum costs. Have been on the up -- so certainly. Double digits. Even though. We haven't seen the kind of inflation this year receivers last year. It's still pretty significant so our raw material cost of particular especially as there are a lot of our. Raw materials replied. Petroleum products so as the the cost of oil goes up our raw material costs go up. Offsetting some of that is the fact that we are highly energy intensive and so are gas that cost natural gas declining has had a very positive impact on us.