Safer containers for shipping lithium-ion batteries sought

International aviation officials are trying to quickly come up with safer packaging for air cargo shipments of lithium-ion batteries, after U.S. testing confirmed that aircraft fire suppression systems can’t prevent overheated batteries from causing a powerful explosion.

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s committee on hazardous cargo met this week in Montreal. Officials familiar with the discussions say the panel heard a detailed presentation by aircraft manufacturers and pilot unions on the potential for the batteries to cause an explosion and fire capable of destroying a plane.

If a working group cannot come up with packaging capable of containing an explosion or fire, union officials say they will formally propose that bulk battery shipments be banned. The batteries are used in devices from cellphones to electric cars.

N.Y. supermarket owner surprises staff with shares

The 33 full-time employees of a New York supermarket just got a special bonus: Their boss is giving them part ownership of the business.

Frank Budwey says Friday he hopes the move will ensure that the 90-year-old independent market bearing his family name makes it to 100 and beyond.

The 66-year-old will remain the majority stakeholder until he retires and divides his shares among selected employees. Until then, his 33 new partners will split 45 percent and share profits going forward.

Budwey surprised the staff with the news at a mandatory meeting Thursday evening. Some employees say they feared Budwey was announcing he planned to close his store in North Tonawanda, outside Buffalo, or that it was being sold.

Budwey’s grandmother opened the original store in 1925.

Profit jumps 10 percent for Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Warren Buffett’s company said Friday its first-quarter profit jumped 10 percent on the strength of its railroad and insurance businesses.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. earned $5.16 billion, or $3,143 per Class A share, during the first three months of 2015. That’s up from $4.71 billion, or $2,862 per Class A share, last year.

Most major Berkshire subsidiaries performed well. Revenue grew 7 percent to $48.6 billion.

Berkshire’s BNSF railroad rebounded from last year’s service problems to generate $1.05 billion in net income, up from $724 million. Last year, BNSF dealt with severe cold weather and a backlog of shipments in several states.

The railroad’s fuel costs fell to $713 million from last year’s $1.16 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway officials do not typically comment on quarterly earnings reports, but Buffett told the Fox Business Network that BNSF had improved more quickly than he had expected.

“They’ve improved dramatically,” Buffett said.

— From news service reports