KKR comes out top in private equity stakes

Michael Bow
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WALL Street colossus KKR yesterday beat its industry rivals in the private equity stakes after posting better than expected third quarter results.

The company, which pioneered the leveraged buyout as Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts in the 1980s, said the value of its private equity portfolio rose 5.9 per cent for the three months ending September.

This beat the 4.2 per cent rise posted by Blackstone and five per cent rise reported by Carlyle Group last week for its own buyout funds.

Overall profits – measured as economic net income – rose 20 per cent, from $509.9m (£314.6m) to $613.7m over the period.

KKR, which marked the 25th anniversary of its audacious leveraged buyout bid for RJR Nabisco yesterday, owns UK firms like Pets at Home and South Staffordshire water and US toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us.

Henry Kravis and his cousin George Roberts, who both run the firm, said in a statement: “Our investment portfolio and balance sheet continue to perform, resulting in an unannualised 20 per cent return on equity in the first nine months of this year.”

KKR head of global capital Scott Nuttall said dialogue for strategic M&A had picked up since the US debt ceiling issue was temporarily resolved.

KKR invested $1.8bn in private equity in the third quarter of 2013, equal to what it invested in all of the first nine months of 2012, making it the most active capital deployment quarter in almost two years. This was partly driven by completing its $3.9bn acquisition of industrial pumps and compressors maker Gardner Denver.

Assets under management totalled $90.2bn as of the end of September, up from $83.5bn as of the end of June.

KKR yesterday also disclosed it had raised $1.4bn so far for its new Energy Income and Growth Fund.