Channel NewsAsia

Warren Buffett lunch winning bidder Andy Chua identified

The man from Singapore who won an auction to dine with the world's third-richest man is understood to be Andy Chua, the chairman of AMES United, which started out as Yun Nam Hair Care.

SINGAPORE: Mr Andy Chua made tongues wag when he put in a winning bid of US$2.17 million to dine with billionaire Warren Buffett. Little was revealed about the man by Glide Foundation except that he is a businessman from Singapore with a company called EMES, but Channel NewsAsia understands he is the chairman of AMES United, which runs a chain of beauty and grooming centres across Asia.

AMES United started off as hair-loss treatment company Yun Nam Hair Care in 1984. It has since founded two other brands – London Weight Management and New York Skin Solutions.

The company has more than 100 outlets across Singapore, Malaysia and Shanghai. It has 1,600 employees and almost 600 of them are based in Singapore, according to the company’s website.

Mr Chua won the annual charity online auction last Saturday to lunch with Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world. According to Forbes’ world billionaires list, Mr Buffett’s net worth stands at more than US$65 billion.

Mr Chua's bid is more than double the US$1 million put in by last year's top bidder. The record bid of US$3,456,789 was set in 2012 by an anonymous bidder. Proceeds of the auction go to Glide Foundation, a San Francisco-based charity organisation which helps the poor and homeless.

Mr Chua on Tuesday (June 10) issued a statement via his "buddy" Mr William Francis, saying that the main purpose of the lunch was for him to thank Mr Buffett personally for his guidance through the years. Though both have never met personally, Mr Chua said he is grateful to Mr Buffett for sharing his investment philosophies through the many books he has written. The books have been instrumental in getting him through several recessions, he said.

Mr Francis, who said he will be joining Mr Chua for the lunch, described how Mr Chua was onboard his yacht out at sea, wearing shorts and a T-shirt and surrounded by friends and family, when the auction took place. Working from his yacht was something that was "very much his style", and it was a place where Mr Chua made many “significant investments”, he wrote.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia