Berkshire’s CTB Buys Martin to Expand Grain-Handling Unit

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A)’s agricultural-products unit CTB Inc. purchased closely held Martin Industries Corp. to expand its offerings to the grain industry. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Martin and its subsidiaries including LeMar Industries make bucket elevators, grain conveyors and other devices for loading and unloading the crop from storage, according to a statement today by Milford, Indiana-based CTB. LeMar, based in Des Moines, Iowa, employs almost 200 people.

CTB Chief Executive Officer Victor Mancinelli has won praise from Berkshire’s billionaire Chairman Warren Buffett for expanding the unit through takeovers. CTB makes equipment for handling grain, poultry, pigs and eggs and this year acquired a Dutch company that makes neck breakers and chicken eviscerators. LeMar’s senior managers will report to the Brock Grain Systems division after the acquisition.

The deal means CTB can “offer its customers and dealers a complete grain preservation package,” Mancinelli said in the statement. “The acquisition also provides CTB with additional engineering expertise and talented people as well as with manufacturing options in the heart of the U.S. grain belt.”

Martin’s other subsidiaries include Riley Equipment, a maker of bulk material handling products; Hall Industries, a custom designer and metal fabricator; Midwest Bearing & Supply, a bearing and power transmission supply house; and Grain Reclaim Machine Co., a grain-pickup service.

Buffett said in 2010 that CTB would expand for decades and was on a farming “superhighway.” The billionaire’s son Howard, a farmer and Berkshire director since 1993, endorsed the deal to buy the company in 2002.

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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