Buffett sets sights on German companies

Financial investor Warren Buffett looks on during an announcement ceremony at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, January 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

BERLIN (Reuters) - Renowned U.S. investor Warren Buffett is readying for an acquisition spree in Europe's biggest economy after setting the ball rolling last week with the purchase of a niche German retailer by his Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) holding company.

In an interview with Handelsblatt newspaper on Wednesday, Buffett said that he liked German companies because of the regulatory and legal protection for investors, as well as the global reach of even smaller businesses, such as Detlev Louis Motorrad-Vertriebs, the motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer bought last week.

"We are definitely interested in buying more German companies," told the newspaper. "Germany is a great market: lots of people, lots of purchasing power and Germans are productive. We also like the regulatory and legal framework."

Buffett, who said he is ready to pay cash for good German companies, said the euro's weakness was only one factor for the decision to ramp up investments in Germany.

"The bottom line is that the weak euro is naturally good for acquisitions," he said. "But the euro's exchange rate is not our primary motivation. We simply want to own more good companies in Germany - that's our goal."

Asked about past rumors that Berkshire Hathaway was interested in buying German sweet maker Haribo and printing press manufacturer Heidelberger Druckmaschinen (HDDG.DE), he said: "Sometimes there are reports that we're interested even though it's not true. But if you can arrange a transaction, I'd pay you a fee."

Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Detlev Louis for a little more than 400 million euros ($456 million).

(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by David Goodman)