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Warren Buffett bowled over by Indian hospitality

News18

Updated: March 23, 2011, 10:51 AM IST
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Warren Buffett bowled over by Indian hospitality
World's third richest man, Warren Buffett, said he was treated much better here than back in the US.

Bangalore: The world's biggest philanthropy capitalists are in the country, wanting to invest and guide India Inc. It's day two of Investment Guru Warren Buffet's maiden visit to India.

Buffet who is the world's third richest man is visiting the TaeguTac office in Bangalore on Wednesday. He's also met Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa. The two leaders shook hands. Buffet also known as Sage of Omaha will be meeting the Prime Minister and industrialists on Friday in Delhi. He's also meeting CEOs to seek their support in pledging wealth for philanthropic activities.

World's third richest man, Warren Buffett, said he was treated much better here than back in the US.

"I am just overwhelmed by the welcome I have received from the moment we got here. They treat me much better in India than they do in the United States," said the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway at a brief meeting with Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa early on Wednesday morning.

"I want to transport all this... I believe in free trade," he said in a lighter vein.

"We had a great dinner last night... I met some very interesting people, had a great conversation. I couldn't feel more welcome and more delighted to be here," said Buffet, who is staying at Taj West End during his visit to the country.

"This is my first trip to India and the first foot I placed on Indian soil was in Bangalore... and it won't be the last," said the 80-year-old billionaire.

"When I come back, I will be 100 in 2030," he joked, but quickly added that he planned to come back much before that and was hopeful of seeing business expand here by then.

"We want to be where the action is and the action is here," Buffett, who on Tuesday admitted to having made a late entry into India, said.

Buffett, who viewed a short presentation on investment opportunities in Karnataka and the Global Investors meet held in 2010, said he was impressed by the speed of implementation of the MoUs signed during the Investors Meet.

"... It is very impressive," he said, lauding the efforts of the Karnataka government in facilitating the establishment of a Nestle food processing plant in a short timeframe of barely 10 months.

Yeddyurappa extended an invitation to Buffett to be the chief guest at the Global Investors Meet in 2012 during the nearly half-hour-long meeting.

The Chief Minister, attired in a formal suit, briefed Buffett about the investment opportunities in Karnataka, the progressive policies of the state government, the close to 400 MoUs signed at the Global Investors Meet and the speedy implementation of several of the projects.

"I invite you to invest in Karnataka in different sectors and assure you all the support and coordination from our government," Yeddyurappa told the legendary investor.

To a question as to what Karnataka needs to be doing to woo more investors, Buffett said, "You are doing the right thing."

Asked what his own assessment was on the impact of the Japanese crisis on the re-insurance sector, he said, "It is very early to assess that."

"Much of the loss is uninsured... It is a wild guess at this point, but I would say that it will be probably be between half a billion and a billion dollars. To put that in perspective, Katrina (hurricane) cost us USD 3 billion and we are much larger. It is a significant amount of money, but it
is not what I call a super catastrophe from the financial standpoint," he said, but added that it was a great tragedy from the human loss point of view.

First Published: March 23, 2011, 10:51 AM IST
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