Warren Buffett, chairman of U.S. conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway and one of the world's most successful investors, paid his second visit to Korea since 2007 earlier this week and said that Korea and its national corporations were a "promising market."
The "Sage of Omaha" arrived in Daegu last Sunday for a three-day trip that included attending the groundbreaking ceremony for a new TaeguTec factory and a meeting with President Lee Myung-bak.
Buffett invested in TaeguTec Ltd. through Iscar Metalworking Cos. (IMC) Group. Although TaeguTec may not be a familiar name, the multinational tool-making company has achieved double-digit growth since its purchase by IMC Group.
Headquartered in Daegu, TaeguTec is recognized for its excellence in technology and now has international subsidiaries in 25 countries, including China, the United Kingdom and India. Production is anticipated to more than double from the current level after the new plant starts work in November this year.
While delivering a congratulatory address at the ceremony, Buffett said that South Korea was an attractive place to invest that will continue to grow. He added that the recent tension with North Korea is unlikely to cause him to reduce his holdings in South Korea.
Following the ceremony, he visited the Daegu Stadium where he received updates on preparation for the IAAF World Championships 2011, which will take place in Daegu. He wished the organizers luck with the event, which will run from August 27 to September 4.
Later the same day, Buffett met with President Lee at Cheong Wa Dae for a 45-minute discussion about the global economy and related issues.
President Lee lauded the chairman's philanthropic activities as a good model for Korean corporations. Lee said Buffett's continued social contributions have evoked much discussion on corporate social responsibility inside Korea, and added that Korea is determined to become more responsible internationally, reflecting its transformed status from aid beneficiary to donor.
Chairman Buffett said that he will cite Korea as a promising market at the upcoming Stockholders' Meeting of Berkshire.
President Lee replied that Koreans are inspired to work hard due to the lack of natural resources in the country. Buffett said that the "brain and energy" behind Korea merits success and that he would continue to invest in Korean enterprises.
During a press conference held in Daegu, Buffett described the Korean steelmaker POSCO as an "incredible steel company." He said, "I don't think there are more than three or four companies outside the U.S. we have invested more than $1 billion in, and POSCO is one of them."
The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times were among the many international press organizations to cover Buffett's visit. After completing the three-day trip, Buffett headed to India to visit a Bangalore-based TaeguTec subsidiary.
source: apec-vc Korea