Warren Buffett. Picture: REUTERS/JIM YOUNG
Warren Buffett. Picture: REUTERS/JIM YOUNG

New York — A real-estate company controlled by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is broadening its global reach, announcing on Monday its first international franchisee, Berlin-based Rubina Real Estate.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices called Rubina an ideal fit for its network, which its parent said had more than 1,500 offices and more than 48,000 agents. It said it planned to add more franchisees in Europe, Asia and North America.

The business began its global expansion in 2016, including through a marketing agreement April 2017 with Juwai.com, China’s largest international property website.

Berkshire’s HomeServices of America, the second-largest US residential real-estate brokerage, is the majority owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Rubina, led by co-founder Carstein Heinrich, will change its name in April to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate.

It will join many other Berkshire-owned companies to adopt the parent’s name, reflecting the brand’s and Buffett’s cachet.

Berkshire has made other investments in Germany, including in 2015 when it bought motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs and in 2017 when its Precision Castparts unit bought piping company Wilhelm Schulz.

The US conglomerate’s brands also include the BNSF railroad, Dairy Queen ice cream and Geico vehicle insurance.

Pre-tax profit at the real-estate business fell 2% in 2017 to $220m, as higher operating costs offset rising revenue from acquisitions and higher home prices.