Europe Still ‘Very Attractive’ Despite Risks: Rubenstein
Europe is still a very attractive market despite the current political and economic risks, David Rubenstein, co-founder & managing director of the Carlyle Group, told CNBC on Wednesday.
"Europe is the biggest economy in the world," Rubenstein told CNBC on Wednesday. "As I've said before, it's the largest emerging market and prices have been beaten down- you can buy things at distressed prices now so I think it's a very attractive market in which to invest," he added.
Rubenstein's private equity firm Carlyle Group reported a 28 percent drop in profits last week with net income falling to $182 million in the fourth quarter, down from $254 million in the same period a year earlier. The decline was attributed to lower performance fees and a surge in compensation costs.
Rubenstein remained bullish, however, particularly on Europe.
"We're pretty bullish on the prospects going forward," he said. "We are interested in buying assets from distressed sellers…banks are in reasonably good shape and can afford to sell some [distressed] assets… at the price that the market will give them," he said.
He said there wasn't a risk of over-paying for premium European assets, as long as investors chose wisely, telling CNBC that "prices are not out of control in Europe."
"There's no doubt that multiples in Europe are a bit higher than in the U.S., but there is more competition in Europe for particular assets. Make sure there's enough equity in a deal and you're not paying too much for an asset that doesn't have any growth prospects," he added.
As political deadlock in Italy threatens the southern European economy and investors fear contagion to other countries, Rubenstein told CNBC that his company was "more nervous" about certain European countries more than others. He did not specify which countries were a greater cause for concern.
(Read More: How Should Investors Play the 'Italian Panic')
Rubenstein's comments came as economic and business confidence in the euro zone improved for the fourth month in a row, according to the European Commission. Releasing figures for the 17-nation bloc on Wednesday, the Commission said that economic sentiment rose by 1.6 points to 91.1, beating the estimates of 89.8 forecast by economists polled by Reuters.