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Jim Rogers Bullish on Water-Tech Investments, Russian Ruble

Rogers Holdings Chairman Jim Rogers
Rogers Holdings Chairman Jim Rogers is looking for technologies that can help free countries from dependency on outside water sources. Photographer: Anita Sharpe/Bloomberg

Jim Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros in the 1970s, is exploring the world for investments in water technology.

“There will be wars east of the Red Sea over oil and wars west of the Red Sea over water,” Rogers, 70, said in an interview yesterday before giving a speech to the CFA Society of Atlanta.

Rogers, who is chairman of Rogers Holdings in Singapore where he lives with his wife and two young daughters, said he isn’t interested in owning lakes, reservoirs or other sources of water that could be confiscated by governments in times of turmoil. He said he’s looking for technologies that can help free countries from dependency on outside water sources. One stock he holds is Singapore-based HyFlux Ltd, which makes and installs water purification, treatment and recycling systems.

“There are not enough companies where water is dominant,” he said.

Rogers, who last year joined the Russian state-controlled investment bank VTB Capital as an advisor after being negative on Russia for 46 years, also said he is bullish on the ruble. Russia and other countries including China have publicly discussed creating a commodities-based reserve currency as an alternative to the dollar.

“Everyone should be talking about that,” Rogers said in the interview. “I know it’s going to happen.”

‘Flawed Currency’

Speaking to about 350 investment professionals yesterday, Rogers said, “I expect a lot more turmoil in currencies. That’s not something most people have paid attention to. Those days are over -- it’s going to change everything.” He said he owns U.S. dollars because, “during periods of turmoil many people flee to the dollar. But it’s a terribly flawed currency. It’s the most flawed of all of them.”

Rogers also has been bearish on the stock market, missing out on most of the equities rally that saw the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index more than double since March of 2009. He said most of his investments remain in commodities.

“The bull market in commodities still has a long way to go,” said Rogers, who traveled around the world by motorcycle and Mercedes Benz and wrote two books about his experiences. “There will be a bubble, but the bubble is still a long way away.”

Asking audience members who had MBAs to raise their hands, Rogers said, “The world is moving away from us. The next 30 years will be the decade where the producers of real goods are in charge.”

Rogers this week released his sixth book, “Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets.” Asked in the interview what message he hoped readers would take away from the book, Rogers said, “Be skeptical, think for yourselves, be independent. The main thing is it’s not easy to make money and the conventional wisdom is very rarely right.”

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