Buffett Bullish on India, Promises Big Investments

Bangalore
Buffett Bullish on India, Promises Big Investments
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
Bullish on India, famed American investor Warren Buffett today promised big investments in the country, preferably in the financial services and the consumer goods sectors.

Stressing that he should have been in India much earlier, 80-year-old Buffett said in recent years he saw more opportunities outside America.

The legendary investor said his company continued to look at large countries like India because it needs to make "large commitments". "India is the logical place to look (to make large commitments). So, I hope I spend some money here (India)".

On his maiden India visit, Buffett would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and insurance sector regulator IRDA's Chairman J Harinarayan, among others.

Buffett-chaired conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway has most of its investments in the US.

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

Berkshire Hathaway had recently forayed into the Indian non-life insurance sector as a corporate agent of Bajaj Allianz General.

Terming his company's entry into India as "better late than never", the world's third richest man said that he understands (companies) that are into soft drinks and chewing gums rather than IT.

Referring to his buying 100 shares of Microsoft in 1991, Buffett quipped, "... In the end, I did not know enough about the (IT) business. I will never know enough about the (IT) business".

The legendary investor also heaped praise on Ajit Jain, long rumoured to be his successor, but did not provide any clear hints on his succession plans.

Jain heads reinsurance business of Berkshire Hathaway.

"I owe it to the people of India for sending Ajit Jain (to me) ... He is much smarter than what I am," Buffett said.

On a lighter note, Buffett said: "He (Jain) is not looking to take my job ... But he is an extraordinary person."

Recalling his first meeting with Jain, Buffett said: "On a Saturday in 1985 (when I first met him), I was looking at him and I knew I was talking to a person of incredible talent."

"He (Jain) loves what he does ... He is extraordinary in business, he is an extraordinary human being ... He is remarkable," he said.

Showering further praises, Buffett said Jain was "like a brother, like a son... (he) excels in every single task he takes ... He has been more than generous throughout his career."

Buffett went on to say that Jain could have made more money outside Berkshire, but he was unbelievably hardworking, smart and could have probably made more money for Berkshire than I have."

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