Euro deals strike bright note for Carlyle Group

Michael Bow
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PRIVATE equity firm Carlyle Group yesterday said Europe offered better buyout opportunities than the United States, despite a recent drought of banking assets on the market.

The Washington-based group, which has owned hundreds of companies globally, said negative sentiment towards the bloc made it an attractive investment.

“A lot of people frankly hate Europe in terms of its investments,” co-founder Bill Conway said. “We actually see very good opportunities there.”

The buyout firm owns a number of well known UK brands, including RAC. Its fourth European buyout fund is currently nearing the fundraising finishing line, giving it billions more dry power for European acquisitions in the next few years.

Co-founder David Rubenstein said there were less debt assets being sold by banks, despite a widely anticipated deleveraging trend following post-financial crisis regulatory reform.

“Many people anticipated European banks would do what the American banks did, which is to sell off a lot of this debt at discount prices,” Rubenstein said yesterday. “But it didn’t really happen. I call it ‘Waiting for Godot’ because it never showed up.” The firm yesterday revealed it had swing back to a second quarter profit after a three per cent rise in the value of its carry funds.

Profits for the period surged to $156m (£100m) versus a $57m loss in the same period last year.

The firm, which is currently raising money from investors for 13 different funds, said it attracted $6.9bn in the quarter from investors.