Tags: Leon Black | investment | opportunities | Europe

Apollo's Leon Black: Best Investment Opportunities Are in Europe

By    |   Sunday, 02 March 2014 12:54 PM

The United States has pockets of potential for private equity, credit and real estate investments, but the pickings are better in Europe, says Leon Black, CEO of private equity titan Apollo Global Management.

"Europe is a place where we are very, very active," he said at a private equity conference in New York, CNBC reports. "There are interesting things to do."

Apollo has recently bought banks in Spain and Germany and auto loan portfolios and credit card companies in Spain and Ireland, Black says.

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He sees potential for non-performing loans, real estate and consumer investments in Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Last week, the European Commission upgraded its economic forecasts, predicting a modest recovery if reforms are obeyed, AFP reported.

The 18-nation eurozone will expand 1.2 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2015, up from estimates in November for 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent, the European Commission said.

Similarly, the full 28-member EU will expand 1.5 percent and 2.0 percent, also both revised up by 0.1 percentage point.

"Recovery is gaining ground in Europe," said EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn. "The worst of the crisis may now be behind us but this is not an invitation to be complacent as the recovery is still modest," Rehn said.

"To make the recovery stronger and create more jobs, we need to stay the course of economic reform."

As for the United States, Black thinks "right now the deal flow is OK. I wouldn't say it's robust." Slow economic growth, a likely rise in interest rates and "pretty full" company valuations are holding things back, he says.

But "there are idiosyncratic things to do off the beaten path," he said. Black cites his firm's recent investments in Chuck E. Cheese restaurant and an undisclosed chemical company as examples.

Possibilities also exist in natural resources, such as shale oil; chemicals and financial services, he says.

Meanwhile, the top 10 executives at publicly-traded private-equity firms garnered at least $1.7 billion combined in dividends last year, as rising stock prices allowed them to sell stakes in many of their companies, according to Bloomberg.

Black led the way with about $369 million in payments from his stock ownership in Apollo.

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The United States has pockets of potential for private equity, credit and real estate investments, but the pickings are better in Europe, says Leon Black, CEO of private equity titan Apollo Global Management.
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2014-54-02
Sunday, 02 March 2014 12:54 PM
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