Thursday, November 6, 2008

Will blindly following Buffett help?

I would like to point out the difference of investing in US and India. Buffett's investment in two sectors - namely Publishing and Retail have been the most profitable. Buffett even remembers a missed opportunity - WalMart - in 1996 which caused a loss of profit of more than $10 Billion to Berkshire Hathaway. The Washington Post Company has been the investment of Buffett's life.

When I compared the performances of Indian publishing and retail companies, I feel the companies are not investment grade except few. Taking the retail first, Indiabulls Retails Services, Shopper's Stop made losses last quarter (Indiabulls Retails previously known as Pyramid Retail has never made profits) and Pantaloon Retail had an interest payment of 68 Cr compared to net profit of 36 Cr. Only Titan, Trent and Provogue are spared (of which Titan and Provogue are part of the famous R's portfolio). This may be due to high cost of Real Estate and high interest rates. In publishing ROCE's of Jagran Prakashan, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, HT Media and Infomedia are nothing to write home about. So if Buffett had been an Indian, he would have stayed away from these businesses.

The lesson is "Do Your Homework".
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