India not emerging, but a big market: Warren Buffett | india | Hindustan Times
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India not emerging, but a big market: Warren Buffett

india Updated: Mar 23, 2011 01:25 IST
HT Correspondent

US billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett on Tuesday said his company Berkshire Hathaway was looking at investing more money in India including buying more than 26% stake in an insurance company.

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

Berkshire India has been incorporated to sell and distribute general insurance products in the world's second fastest growing major economy.

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

The 80-year old legendary investor, often called the "Oracle of Omaha", has pledged 99% of his wealth in Berkshire Hathaway to philanthropy. Along with bridge partner and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Buffet is coaxing America's richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity.

Buffet, who would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said 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.

Buffett said that for investors, a foreign investment cap of 26% in the insurance sector here was a deterrent.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had in his budget speech last month proposed to move forward with various financial sector legislations including Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008 that seeks to enhance the cap on foreign direct investment in private insurers to 49% from 26%.

The Bill, as introduced in Parliament, does not split this between foreign portfolio investors (foreign institutional investors, or FIIs) and others.

Buffett's visit to India is part of his Asia tour. He will visit two cities during his visit - Bangalore and New Delhi. This is Buffett's maiden visit to the country.

He did not want to give an opinion on the state of the Indian economy either ... "preposterous to give an opinion on Indian economy two hours after landing in India," he said.