In the recent issue of Forbes Magazine, Richard C. Morais discusses Warren Buffet and European investments in “Die Familie Firma“.
In May, Warren Buffet toured Europe and announced to the media he wanted to be “on the radar screens” of Germany’s family-owned businesses. He is looking to buy well-managed, family-owned companies with consistent earnings power, pretax profits of at least $80 million and products enjoying a “durable competitive advantage”. Buffett discovered that the economic backbone of German-speaking Europe is the Mittelstand – medium-size, family-owned businesses. Drive through towns in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, and you could find an unassuming, well-run family company like Palfinger AG – Palfinger is just outside Salzburg, Austria and has annual revenues of $1.1 billion.
It is always wise to keep up with Buffett and where he is putting his money. If you want to invest in this area, but do not want to buy individual stocks, try iShares MSCI Austria Index Fund ETF (EWO) and iShares Switzerland Index Fund ETF (EWL), which both have a position in Palfinger.