Billionaire Usmanov: Fed Tapering a 'Well-Balanced Decision'

Despite market turmoil over the Federal Reserve's indication that it could start tapering its bond buying program, billionaire investor Alisher Usmanov told CNBC that it would play a "positive" role for markets.

"The world is changing and the decisions taken by the Fed are crucial, but I think tapering is a well-balanced decision," Usmanov told CNBC at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday.

"This step is well-grounded although it might raise some concerns in the markets. But, overall, I think it will play a positive role," he said.

Usmanov, who is Russia and the U.K.'s richest man, said that in spite of market volatility, he was looking for new investment opportunities and was "watching closely" how the economic situation around the globe developed.

"There are industries and companies that look positive even in today's volatile landscape. There are some Russian companies, speaking as a Russian investor, that look undervalued because of mythological political risks," he said.

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He said the tech and retail sphere, as well as those servicing consumption were typically under-valued and good investment opportunities. And despite accusations that Russia has been slow to diversify its economy away from the energy sector, Usmanov saw investment opportunity there.

"Another segment [for investment] is mining. Because natural resources are still high on the investment agenda and are needed all over the world," he added. Usmanov said he was also interested in increasing his investments in China with internet retail firms and manufacturers of smart phones of particular interest.

The second-largest shareholder of U.K. football team, Arsenal, Usmanov told CNBC in December that he was ready to do all he can to support the club despite being "rankled" that Arsenal's major shareholder Stan Kroenke denied him a seat on the board.

Usmanov said he was as ardent about the club as ever and would not involve himself in speculation over the transfer or purchase of players: "Arsene (Wenger, Arsenal's manager) knows better than me what should be done."

"Of course, we as shareholders point to some drawbacks in the management of the club but he is a great coach and the club is progressing in the commercial sense."

He said that if a player such as Wayne Rooney joined the club, as had been rumored, it would be positive for everyone. "He is a great player and [joining Arsenal] would be great for Rooney, and Arsenal too."


Reported by Forbes magazine to be Russia's richest man, Usmanov made his money in the mining industry as well as investments in other sectors such as technology and the likes of Facebook and Apple, in which he recently bought a $100 million stake.

(Read More: Russia's 'Facebook' Blacklisted by 'Mistake')

Despite the recent decline in both companies' share price, Usmanov was confident in their future.

He said there were no "near-term or global risks" on the horizon for Apple, and Facebook could overcome the risks posed by similar firms moving into the social media space. Indeed, he said he would be interested in increasing his investment in both firms "if opportunities present themselves."

Usmanov's estimated worth is 13.3 billion pounds ($19.95 billion), according to the most recent Sunday Times Rich List, and he is listed as the world's 34th richest man according to Forbes magazine.