Wertheimer likens Iscar to Microsoft [pg. 15]

Eitan Wertheimer, the publicity-shy man who convinced investor billionaire Warren Buffett to buy his company for $4 billion, boasted Sunday that Iscar's profitability was like that of software giant Microsoft. Addressing the "Annual Capital Market" conference by The Marker and Brightman Almagor, Wertheimer, who in the past had been quiet about Iscar's profitability, however, did not want to comment on whether the analogy with Microsoft meant that Iscar's profit level was 35 percent of turnover. "But I would say that Buffett commented he'd never seen a company like it," said Wertheimer. "There are no executive employment contracts at Iscar. A handshake is worth more commitment than any document." Wertheimer added that by selling 80% of Iscar, he actually bought a fascinating partner and a gigantic window of opportunity to get things done. Although Buffett has bought the controlling interest in Iscar through a highly complex transaction, the company will continue to pay tax as usual, Wertheimer confirmed. Responding to a question of how he twisted Buffett's arm, Wertheimer said there were important rules to remember. "Don't come to Buffett after you have been to 10 others; be brief; and come with a price and don't waste his time." Wertheimer proudly said Israel has a vast potential with more businesses like Iscar. "But the problem is the speed with which Israeli businesses are run and often they are sold off too early."