By Erik Holm and Andrew Frye
June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said a recovery in the U.S. economy will take time as he’s not seeing signs of a rebound at his businesses spanning retailing, manufacturing and energy.
“In terms of the economy coming back, it takes a while,” Buffett told CNBC. “Everything we see about the economy is we’ve had no bounce.” Buffett is the chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The U.S. gross domestic product plunged in the first quarter, dropping at a 5.7 percent annual pace, the Commerce Department said May 31. Buffett, who oversees candymaking, energy and manufactured-housing units, reported Berkshire’s first loss since 2001 in the first three months of the year.
“Industrial demand is down like we’ve never seen it,” Buffett said. A recovery “will happen but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Separately, he told Fox News that he intends to keep his Goldman Sachs Group Inc. warrants. The New York-based bank said in September it would sell $5 billion in preferred stock to Berkshire. Buffett gets a 10 percent dividend, or $500 million a year, and gained warrants to buy $5 billion of common stock at $115 each over the next five years.
“I think we’ll make a lot of money,” he told Fox.
Buffett, 78, ranked the world’s second-richest man by Forbes magazine, spoke to the cable channel in advance of a lunch with Zhao Danyang, manager of the Pureheart China Growth Investment Fund in Hong Kong. Zhao bid more than $2.1 million last year to win Buffett’s annual charity auction, which supports San Francisco’s Glide Foundation.
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