Buffett to Visit India, Won’t Rule Out Insurance Investment

By and | May 3, 2010

Warren Buffett said Saturday he plans to visit India next March, and would not rule out the country for possible future investments.

Speaking at Berkshire’s annual meeting in response to a shareholder question, Buffett said he had decided only on Friday to make the trip, saying the company’s Iscar Metalworking Cos unit “is doing very well there.”

Buffett said “we do not rule out India” as a possible locale for future Berkshire investments, whether in companies or marketable securities, though bureaucratic obstacles could complicate any plans to invest, including limitations on foreign ownership.

He added that “we’ve looked a lot at being in the insurance business in India.” Insurance and reinsurance are Berkshire’s main business lines.

Demographers expect India to overtake China as the world’s most populous country within the next two decades, and Buffett predicted that “people in India will be living a lot better 20 years from now.”

Buffett does not disclose where he plans to make future investments, but occasionally travels outside the United States to seek opportunities or check on Berkshire investments.

Among Berkshire’s investments in Asia are the Korean steelmaker Posco and the Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co.

Both have been profitable, giving Berkshire respective paper profits of $1.32 billion and $1.75 billion as of year-end, according to Berkshire’s annual report.

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