Warren Buffett eyes investment in India; rues FDI restrictions – ET

Posted on March 22, 2011 by


Legendary investor Warren Buffett today said he was looking at investments in large countries like India, but rued the existing foreign investment caps in sectors like insurance.

Speaking to reporters on his maiden visit to India, Buffett said he did not consider India as an emerging market any more and even the US would benefit from rise of countries like India and China.

He said that he would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but did not reveal the agenda for the meeting.

Buffett’s investments have mostly been in the US, but countries like China, Japan, Israel and South Korea have also attracted him in the past.

About India, where his presence is comparatively minuscule and includes recent tie-up with Bajaj Allianz for distribution of motor insurance products, Buffett said that he was looking at investments in large countries like India.

Noting that he did not consider India as an emerging market anymore, Buffett said that he was happy with one big investment idea in a year and it did not matter whether such an idea came from India, the US or somewhere else.

Without speaking further on his plans for India, Buffett said that an foreign investment cap of 26 per cent in insurance sector here was a deterrent.

India currently allows only 26 per cent foreign investment in insurance business, but a proposal is underway to hike it to 49 per cent.

Besides Prime Minister, Buffett would also meet insurance sector regulator Irda Chairman J Harinarayan later this week.

Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate chaired by Buffett, recently forayed into the Indian non-life insurance sector as a corporate agent of Bajaj Allianz General.

Buffett is in India as part of his philanthropic initiatives, but is also expected to look at possible investment opportunities in the country.

As part of its India entry, the American conglomerate has incorporated Berkshire India to sell and distribute general insurance products in India.

Berkshire Hathaway is a sprawling conglomerate that has interests in various businesses, including property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, finance, manufacturing, and retailing.

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