The legendary investor Warren Buffett, who has till now made only a few investments outside the U.S., plans to visit India next March and is likely to explore possible investment opportunities.
One of the richest persons in the world, Mr. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, which has holdings in diverse firms like Coca-Cola and Swiss Re.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha on Saturday, Mr. Buffet disclosed his plans to visit India next year. According to the Wall Street Journal, in response to a query on whether he would consider investing in India, Mr. Buffett said he is eyeing the country and “is going to make a trip to India in March next”.
Attributing to Mr. Buffett, the publication said one problem is that laws limit how much Berkshire can invest in Indian companies. “Still, he sees potential noting that India has made big improvements in the last 10 years,” the paper said quoting him.
In Asia, Berkshire’s current investments include those in South Korean steel maker Posco and in Chinese entity BYD.
Switzerland and Israel are among other countries where Berkshire has investments.
Going by media reports, Mr. Buffett did not rule out India as a possible destination for Berkshire investments. Further, Mr. Buffett was quoted as saying that his company had looked at Indian insurance business. Berkshire’s main businesses are in insurance and reinsurance areas.
The conglomerate’s reinsurance business is run by India-origin Ajit Jain, long rumoured to become the successor of the billionaire investor at Berkshire.
In his annual letter to shareholders this year, Mr. Buffett described Mr. Jain as a “superstar” and said Mr. Jain is known worldwide as the man to call when something both very large and unusual needs to be insured.
“A hugely important event in Berkshire’s history occurred on a Saturday in 1985. Ajit Jain came into our office in Omaha — and I immediately knew we had found a superstar,” he wrote in his annual letter to his shareholders. Mr. Jain was given charge of then small and struggling reinsurance operations.
“If Charlie (Buffett’s partner), I and Ajit are ever in a sinking boat — and you can only save one of us — swim to Ajit (Jain),” Mr. Buffett had said.
In last year’s annual letter too, Mr. Buffett had showered praise on Mr. Jain while asserting that there is no one like him.