Buffett arrives in Bangalore today
Warren Buffett arrives in Bangalore this afternoon, the first leg of his maiden trip to India. The world’s third richest man is scheduled to land at the Bengaluru International Airport at 2.30 pm. Sources at the airport said he is coming with a team from Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s investment company, and journalists in two chartered planes. His friend, Eitan Wertheimer, chairman of the Board of the Israeli company Iscar, is accompanying him. Buffett’s Bangalore visit is intended primarily to see TaeguTec India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Iscar. Berkshire acquired 80% of Iscar’s shares from Wertheimer’s family for $4 billion in 2006. The Wertheimers retained 20% of the shares and Eitan Wertheimer stayed on as chairman. Iscar is a producer of innovative cutting tools for metalworking, and TaeguTec India supports this work. From the airport, Buffett will head almost straight into a media interaction at The Taj West End hotel, though one source said he may visit a slum on the way. This will be followed by a dinner with a few select people. On Wednesday, he’s scheduled to visit the TaeguTec facility in Bommasandra industrial area on the outskirts of Bangalore. In the afternoon, there’s a lunch and panel discussion at the Leela Palace hotel, with about 100 industry bigwigs attending. Buffett, Wertheimer, Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan and Krishnan are the panellists. There is an early dinner the same evening with TaeguTec’s vendors and business associates, following which Buffett will fly out of Bangalore. Police sources said Buffett would be provided a pilot vehicle and police protection throughout. Buffett is scheduled to be in Delhi on Thursday and Friday where he is expected to meet the Prime Minister, and industrialists. One major purpose of Buffett’s India visit is said to be to seek the support of wealthy Indians for philanthropic activities. In 2006, Buffett had made a commitment to gradually give 99% of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations.