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Berkshire Hathaway sells 2 short-line railroads

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm •  Published: December 26, 2012

The six-mile-long CBEC railroad that serves a MidAmerican Energy coal plant south of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was sold to its two other co-owners in November.

The Central Iowa Power Cooperative now owns 94 percent of the CBEC railroad, and the Corn Belt Power Cooperative owns the other 6 percent.

None of the entities that bought Berkshire's short lines owns another railroad, which ensured that the sales didn't require Surface Transportation Board approval. The Surface Transportation Board reviews rail mergers, purchases, construction and rate disputes. It also oversees Amtrak's on-time performance.

Roger Nober, a BNSF attorney, suggested to regulators in a September letter that the short-line railroads had been overlooked within Berkshire because of their small size.

Berkshire is an extremely decentralized conglomerate with more than 80 subsidiaries, including insurance, clothing, manufacturing, furniture, jewelry and utility businesses.

Buffett and other top Berkshire officials don't have much input in day-to-day operations of subsidiaries, and officials at the companies Berkshire owns don't necessarily interact with each other a great deal.

Besides the companies Berkshire owns, it also has major investments in companies like Coca-Cola Co., IBM and Wells Fargo & Co.


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