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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway orders jets worth $9.6 billion

Berkshire Hathaway jumped into the slumping private-jet market again with a record order valued at $9.6 billion.

Jun 13, 2012, 01.33 AM IST
NEW YORK: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway jumped into the slumping private-jet market again with a record order valued at $9.6 billion, betting on a rebound later this decade with a third plane purchase in less than two years.

Buying as many as 425 jets from Bombardier and Textron's Cessna will bolster Berkshire's NetJets as the US and European economies "ultimately come back to a much stronger position," NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell told reporters on Monday on a conference call.

Deliveries will start as soon as two years from now as NetJets bolsters its fleet of more than 700 planes. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, probably won favorable financial terms as planemakers work to rebuild order backlogs, said Michel Merluzeau, an aviation consultant for G2 Solutions in Seattle.

"This is a favorable time to buy," Merluzeau said in a telephone interview. "It's a good demonstration of the anticipation of cycles." NetJets' transaction covers as many as 275 Bombardier (BBD/B) Challenger aircraft, including 100 firm orders.

The Cessna portion of the deal consists of as many as 150 Citation Latitude jets, of which 25 orders are firm, according to a statement.

Bombardier deliveries will begin in 2014, and the Cessnas will start arriving in 2016, NetJets said. "It's prudent to take a stand now and make a decision now to be sure that we're well positioned to compete over the longer term," Hansell said on the conference call.

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