Bangalore: Billionaire Warren Buffett on Tuesday said he is looking to invest in large countries like India, China and Brazil, but added that restrictions on foreign ownership in India’s insurance industry could be a deterrent.
Buffett also said and the US economy was improving and that the devastating earthquake in Japan would not hurt global growth.
“India is a very logical place to look so I hope I spend some money here,” Buffett told reporters in Bangalore.
Earlier this month, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to become a corporate agent for India’s Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, marking its entry into the insurance sector in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Buffett plans to launch his firm’s insurance selling portal for Bajaj Allianz on this visit.
“It would be more attractive to us if we could buy more than 26% of the company,” Buffett said, referring to the cap on foreign ownership in the Indian insurance sector.
Indian rules do not allow foreign firms to own more than 26% in an insurance joint venture with a local partner - a move that is seen by many overseas firms as restrictive.
“I would say that for the time being and perhaps for sometime our activities in insurance here will be at the agency level rather than at the underwriting level,” he said.
Buffett is in Bangalore to visit the local arm of TaeguTec, a unit of Israeli metal-cutting tool maker ISCAR Metalworking, in which Berkshire has a majority stake. He is also expected to meet policymakers and company executives.
Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha, a reference to his prodigious skill in picking out great investments that are followed closely by investors, and his Omaha, Nebraska origins, said he was looking at investing in industries with modest rates of change.
He said he liked large countries like India, China, Brazil, United Kingdom and Germany. “I don’t consider India as an emerging market, I consider India as a very big market,” he told reporters. “We continue to look at large countries like India.”
Buffett in South Korea on Monday said Berkshire, which had $38 billion of cash equivalents at the end of 2010, was looking for more large-scale acquisitions anywhere in the world.