He doesn’t live in a home because he’s constantly on the move. When Nicolas Berggruen, President, Berggruen Holdings, kicked off a two-week visit to India in August, his priority was doubtless to add to his existing portfolio of companies across six verticals— hotels, realty, education, construction equipment rental, car rental and radio taxis.
The deceleration expected in economic growth in the current year isn’t likely to deter the American. “India will slow down but a 6 or a 7 per cent GDP growth rate might not be bad in itself, although it’s certainly a psychological depression from the heady 9 per cent,” observes the 46-year old canny billionaire bachelor, whose family owns one of the largest collections of Picassos, numbering over 100, and has proprietary assets worth over $2 billion.
In a departure from his entry strategy in 2006, Berggruen is now willing to consider acquisitions to grow. “At that time, the economy was near its peak and valuations were exaggerated. Now, the market is becoming rational and it makes more sense in this environment to look at existing businesses,” feels Berggruen.
In the other focus area of alternative energy, Berggruen Holdings will scout for projects in hydro, wind and solar energy where it will look to invest up to $500 million. “We already have the expertise in this area outside India and will be looking to consolidate our position in this segment here,” he says.
—Tejeesh N. S. Behl