CNBC EXCLUSIVE: CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC'S ERIN BURNETT INTERVIEWS KHALDOON AL MUBARAK, MUBADALA CEO & MANAGING DIRECTOR ON CNBC TODAY
WHEN: Today, Friday, October 9th
WHERE: CNBC's "Street Signs"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Mubadala CEO & Managing Director, today on CNBC's "Street Signs."
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
ERIN: I JUST WANTED TO START OFF WITH -- WHAT IS IT THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO CREATE AND TO ACCOMPLISH WITH MUBADALA?
Mubarak: It's been a great ride so far with Mubadala. Since 2002, we have grown dramatically as a company in terms of asset base, in terms of human resources. If you think about it, since 2002 we've doubled in size every year till 2009. We're over 500 employees right now, our total assets have reached over 80B dirhams in 2009. We're up about 46% from last year. So it's been a great story, we need to continue to grow the business. Our only shareholder the government is very happy with the performance of the company. There's a lot more to do.
ERIN: WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE 46% JUMP WHEN MOST PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHAT'S FRANKLY BEEN A HORRIBLE INVESTMENT TIMEFRAME?
Mubarak: 2008 was a tough year. It was a difficult year for many people including ourselves. We have rebounded well in 2009. WE structured ourselves in many sectors that have performed relatively well in 2009, and the result is a 46% in total asset base.
ERIN: IS THERE A WINDOW RIGHT NOW OF OPPORTUNITY WHERE YOU'VE GOT TO SEIZE IT RIGHT BEFORE THINGS START TO GET BETTER, YOU GOT TO GET IN THIS IS THE MOMENT?
Mubarak: I think so. The situation is getting better globally. Ah, we can see the light. it's not shining, but there's a light I'm much more optimistic now than I was 6-8 months ago. Still have to be very cautious on how you approach investments around the world. There are some interesting spots and sectors. We are definitely right now more engaging than we were in the beginning of this year, because we see positive signs. And, you'll see mubadala more active as we close out this year.
ERIN: WHEN YOU SAY INTERESTING - WHERE DO YOU SEE THAT? IS THERE AN INDUSTRY IN PARTICULAR? A COUNTRY IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU THINK HAS MORE OPPORTUNITY THAN SOMEWHERE ELSE?
Mubarak: First comes first. 2009 for mubadala has been a delivery year, we had a lot of projects we invested in that are either coming to stream this year, or we've reached stage of transition from plans to actual implementation. For instance, in the country, one of our major developments was a 6.7b aluminum smelter that's been under construction for the last 4 years. Now that...
ERIN: LARGEST IN THE WORLD?
Mubarak: In the world. Absolutely. now that smelter will produce first metal in December this year. that's an important milestone for us. very important project and industry and we look forward to a successful track record in that industry. At the same time, we talked about our interest in aerospace industry. This year, we've broken ground on development of a major plant here in Abu Dhabi, a company called Strata? that we wholly own. Again, a major composite manufacturing facility for clients like ADS. That's going to come on stream, production late next year.
So, you're seeing a lot of these development investments that are coming. At same time, on the international front, like the partnership we have with GE. We have JV with GE to create commercial finance business. That JV is now starting to deploy capital. We've had a good quarter. Next quarter, I anticipate more deployment of capital from shareholders through JV, and I think they're looking at very interesting ops in U.S. and Europe.
ERIN: IN TERMS OF NEW INVESTMENTS IN U.S AND EUROPE?
Mubarak: yes, new investments.
ERIN: AND YOU MENTIONED GE, WHICH IS THE PARENT COMPANY OF CNBC, BUT THAT IS ONE OF THE BIG STORIES OUT THERE RIGHT NOW THAT WE COULD POTENTIALLY SEE NBC UNIVERSAL IN PART OR IN FULL LEAVE THE GE FOLD. IS THAT SOMETHING AS A SHAREHOLDER THAT YOU WOULD YOU SUPPORT?
Mubarak: GE is a very important company for us from several perspectives.#1, Being major shareholder, being partner in different businesses -- Commercial finance, to interview business, to exec/training develop side. We consider GE a major partner of ours. I won't take a view yet on that. I think Immelt and mgmt of GE have done great job of understanding how this company needs to evolve. Any decision they take from now forward take into acct the market conditions, so I trust their judgment. So, I don't have a view on that matter. I leave it to their good judgment for the time being
ERIN: AND I KNOW THAT SUMMER 2008, WHEN YOU FIRST BOUGHT YOUR STAKE IN GE, ANNOUNCED THE JV THAT YOU HAVE. AT THAT TIME, YOU SAID YOUR GOAL IS TO BECOME ONE OF THE 10 LARGEST SHAREHOLDERS. AT LAST CHECK, AND MAYBE I'M WRONG SO YOU'LL CORRECT ME, I THINK YOU WERE 17, YOU HAD BEEN BUYING SHARES STEADILY THROUGH THE YEAR. ARE YOU STILL LOOKING TO BE IN TOP 10?
Mubarak: we're still buying. we've managed our investment strategy in GE quite well. I'm very proud of the way my investment team has managed that commitment. because we didn't just jump in, we had discussion a while ago. We said we'd build to become top 10 and we didn't do overnight. WE followed market, came in at right time. Fact that we are where we are today is because we've been prudent in how we've built our shareholder position within GE. We still believe strongly in the long term prospects of that share, that company. We're still following it closely and making acquisitions in shares whenever it looks appropriate.
ERIN: AS PEOPLE LOOK AT THIS AND THEY SAY, "OK, HE LIKES GE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN HE'S LOOKING FOR?" WHAT IS IT ABOUT GE THAT YOU LIKE? WHAT BUSINESSES THAT THEY HAVE, OR WHAT IS IT THAT THEY'RE FOCUSED ON THAT YOU SAY, I LIKE THIS AND I WANT TO BUY THAT?
Mubarak: we always look at good partnerships. what do I mean? companies that have a strong foundation, fundamentals. companies that have a share price appropriate for us to invest in and have good long-term sustainable rate of return, and companies with possibility for partnership for building value for them and ourselves. in our side of the world, a side of the world we feel strongly about. that's what we've done with GE.
Today, our partnership w/ GE in renewable energy spectrum. Here in Abu Dhabi is very important. Our partnership w/ GE in commercial finance biz, creating that biz here in Abu Dhabi and for reason. These are the kinds of partnerships we like to do. And I think we're doing it with other co's around the world. It's been a good model for us. Achieves 2 objectives: #1 a strong commercial mandate and rate of return that has to cross our benchmarks. And #2 a long-term strategic econ benefit for this country and the region an area very important for us. Hitting this these 2 objectives is always what we look for in a partnership.
ERIN: YOU TALK ABOUT THE STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES FOR THIS COUNTRY. THERE ARE SOME INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT THIS COUNTRY. 30% OF THE PEOPLE IN ABU DHABI ARE ABU DHABI NATIONALS, EMERATIS. THE OTHER PEOPLE THAT LIVE HERE ARE EXPATS. IT'S A CHALLENGING PLACE. YOU DON'T HAVE THAT MANY PEOPLE, BUT YOU WANT TO BE A REAL PLAYER IN THE WORLD ECONOMY. AND I KNOW YOU'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME THINKING ABOUT HOW TO DO THAT -- HOW DO YOU FOCUS YOUR DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS THERE? HOW DO YOU MAKE A SMALL COUNTRY MORE POWERFUL THAN ITS SIZE WOULD INDICATE?
Mubarak: Great question, Erin. This has always been what drives us. Abu Dhabi and UAE is unique place. How this country has managed itself over the years is a big credit to the leadership of this country, making this country such a culturally and economy diverse place. Today if you look at Abu Dhabi, 30 years ago, 70% of GDP was coming from oil & gas. Today, it's less than 30%. That's a major shift, while maintaining a big role within oil & gas.
ERIN: YOU STILL HAVE 10% OF THE WORLD'S OIL RESERVES. SO, WHAT INDUSTRIES HAVE TAKEN UP THAT GAP?
Mubarak: Well, let's look at Mubadala. As institution, we focus on developing new industries w/ in the UAE. you look at aerospace, that's an area where we're investing heavily. There's value there and commercial opportunity for us to create the right industrial center here in the UAE within aerospace. We've done the same in healthcare, infrastructure, the industrial sector, we talked about aluminum industry. That's what we like to do, create and open new sectors other than oil in gas while continuing to invest in oil in gas.
ERIN: YOU GET IDEA GENERATION HERE AND CREATIVITY. IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU WANT THAT AND YOU ALSO ACTUALLY WANT BE IN MANUFACTURING?
Mubarak: one good example, let's take a step back, we talk about oil and gas. Mubadala is one of the biggest investors in the middle east and North Africa and we've done that without investing in UAE. All of our assets in oil and gas are outside the UAE. We're major producers of gas in Qatar, in Oman, exploring in Libya, Algeria, we're producing and exploring in South East Asia, we have one of the largest prospects of oil and gas in Kazakhstan. So, we have done very well in to a certain extent, in a different way of diversification -- investing in sector we're strong in as a country, but investing outside the UAE.
ERIN: WHAT ABOUT IRAQ?
Very interesting market. Um, there's a lot of potential in Iraq. We're looking at different opportunities in Iraq. It's not been easy, it's been challenging. However, you can't ignore that market. It's a very important market. It will I hope make the critical turn. will follow situation there and follow opportunities in Iraq.
ERIN: NOW, ONE OTHER THING THAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING RECENTLY. YOU TALK ABOUT SEEING OPPORTUNITIES.JUST IN PAST COUPLE WEEKS, YOU SAW ONE IN CHARTER. YOU ALSO HAVE AMD IN THE US. AND THE ONLY FOUNDRY IN THE US IS OPERATED BY YOU. WHAT IS IT ABOUT SEMICONDUCTORS? ARE YOU SAYING I'M FULL TO THE GILLS OF SEMICONDUCTORS, OR IS THERE MORE THERE IN OPPORTUNITY?
Mubarak: You mentioned AMD. That's where it started. Mubadala always looked at AMD as a good company with a lot of value that can be created through that company. We started by investing approx 5-6% in the company, have since then upped shareholding to just below 20%, about 19.7% of shares in AMD. The share has performed well in last 12 months.
It's been a difficult couple of years for AMD. We've since been involved in restructuring. Another Abu Dhabi owned company called ATIC, that has essentially spun off foundry biz outside AMD. So AMD is focusing on design side, while manuf. is through JV between AMD and ATIC global foundris.
We wouldn't be in that business, going back to first point, unless there was #1 a commercial long term attractive proposition and #2 if we didn't see an opportunity through a sister company in this case ATIC, to develop an industry here in Abu Dhabi.
The focus is on business, AMD is working very hard and we're satisfied with the way the company is being run and #s over the last few quarters. We expect them to do better and they're doing better. Global Foundry is also launching itself and made acqusiiton through ATIC of chartered. That's an important acuqisiton and part of longterm strategy. Shows you the way we like to work and how we like to create value.
ERIN: BUT THE LONG TERM STRATEGY BEING YOU THINK YOU CAN GET A RATE OF RETURN, BUT ALSO CHIP INDUSTRY? WHETHER THAT'S THE IDEAS OR THE MANUFACTURING WHICH MIGHT BE HERE IN ABU DHABI?
Mubarak: absolutely. global founderies working hard to create chip manuf. industry here in abu dhabi. and they will do so. i'm pretty confident in their capabilities and how they've worked so far.
ERIN: ONE THING THAT SEMIS HAVE IN COMMON WITH ALUMINUM SMELTERS IS THAT THEY USE ALOT OF ENERGY AND WATER. YOU HAVE ALOT OF ENERGY HERE, MAYBE A LITTLE LESS ON WATER FRONT. BUT HOW ARE YOU GETTING AROUND BOTH OF THOSE ISSUES? SO MANY PEOPLE SAY THAT IT MUST HAVE JUST BEEN PART OF THE BUBBLE, THE GLOBAL BUBBLE, THAT ABU DHABI WITH 10% OF WORLD'S OIL, DECIDES IT'S GOING OT HAVE A GREEN CITY AND IT'S GOING TO BE GREEN. WAS THAT PART OF THE BUBBLE, OR IS THAT SOMETHING YOU'RE STILL STICKING WITH?
Mubarak: Well, i'll answer you but before want to answer a question you asked earlier that I didn't answer properly. One of advantages we have, that we can use, to make Mubadala a global company, competitive from econ perspective -- you look at the advantages we have. We are energy rich, blessed with strong resources from oil/gas perspective.
Any indusstry that requires energy, obvoiusly de facto has an advantage for us here in UAE. Any capital-intensive industry makes sense for us. If you look at any industry that requres energy and capital, the next question is: human resources. Here, 30% of populatoin are xx nationals. We are small population compared to many other countries. We can't look at industries that require high human capital. We need insdustries that require low human capital, high in quality, capital intesnive, energy intensive. Oil and gas spectrum is where we have a competitive advantage. That's sort of industries we're going after.
ERIN: WHICH IS WHY ALL THOSE RUMORS ABOUT COMING INTO SAVE GM, JUST WOULDN'T WORK ... ?
Mubarak: oil industry is different, wouldn't put in that category.
ERIN: SO IN TERMS OF OPPORTUNITY FROM HERE. SOUNDS LIKE YOU'RE SAYING US AND EUROPE, BUT WOULD BE SOME KIND OF INVESTMENT IN COMPANY THAT COULD BE FINANCIAL BUT ALSO IN EVERY CASE IS GOING TO HAVE A LINK TO INDUSTRY CREATION OR DEVELOPMENT HERE?
Mubarak: Now, we cannot forget Asia. China is immensely interesting to us. I've spent alot of time in China this year. We're looking at alot of things there. There's no quesiton China will be exciting and interesting place for Mubadala to play in the years to come.
ERIN: DO YOU THINK ITS RECOVERY IS REAL?
ERIN: YOU DO. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT AMERICA'S RECOVERY?
Mubarak: Better than I expected. I was very pessimistic about 2009, expecting maybe start of turn to happen in 2010. It's done better than that. Everything is subjective at end of day. i believe US econ is on track to recover. Not going to be as quick as many people hopes, but it's going to be in right direction. For us, long term investors, we see ops there we like, we have appettite and patience, whether quick or slow, at end of day, we're looking at much longer horizon than maybe other investors. So, i think it suits us well, and we're looking at US from that perspective
ERIN: ONE THING THAT I FIND INTERESTING IN THE U.S. AS YOU TALK TO PEOPLE ALOT OF THEM HAVE BEEN HERE. ESPECIALLY PEOPLE WHO WANT WANT CAPITAL FOR BUSINESSES AND ALWAYS COMING AND TRYING TO SELL THE CONCEPT TO YOU. ARE YOU GETTING MORE PEOPLE NOW, THAT PEOPLE HAVE IDEAS AND CAN'T FIND FINANCING THAN YOU WERE DURING THE BUBBLE WHEN EVERYBODY WAS ALSO COMING. I MEAN, HOW WOULD YOU HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FLOW OF PEOPLE COMING TO YOUR DOOR FROM US AND EUROPE, TRYING TO GET SOME INVESTMENT?
Mubarak: i think right now, getting alot more educated interest. in beginning of bubble, i'll use the world bubble, everyone was coming. you had people that knew us, knew UAE and people who had no clue. I met with people who thought this was a cash machine. That you were going to put in nyumber and cash was going to come out. big change in level of understanding, information about UAE, Abu Dhabi is alot more known today. more information about us.
People appreciate companies like Mubadala right now b/c so much information right now about mubadala that wsn't the case in 2005 and 2006, 2007. Today, we issue an annual report. Ther'es been an evolution of Mubadala over last couple of years. We've leared alot. We've had to be more disciplined about the type of informatoin we disclose.
I remember the last time we spoke a couple of years ago, the biug issue was SWF, and transparecy of SWFs. I took that ver seriously. Since then, we worked hard to set benchmark for how companies who are owned by soveriengs act. I think we've done very well.
Mubadala today is one of the very few if not the only one, a company owned by govt of Abu Dhabi, issues annual report, very open and transparent in terms of our #s, growth, profitability, and that's helped alot.
We issued a bond a couple of months ago. And ah, we ah raised about $1.25b in 5 yr ... and $500m in 10yr money. That was the first time that mubadala issues a bond. The demand was incredible.
erin, for the first time, company like Mubadala goes into the bond market, 1.75B worth of bonds, our book ws in terms of demand was over $9.3B in summer 2009. that's remarkable. It shows you how much more info is out there.
ERIN: AND WHAT HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED? THE OTHER SKEPTICISM OUT THERE IS THAT BACK IN THE 70'S WHEN OIL PRICES SURGED, ALOT OF PLACES IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAD THESE BUILDING BOOMS, AND IT ALL CAME CRASHING DOWN. NOW HERE WE ARE AGAIN, OIL PRICES HAVE COME DOWN, THEY'RE STILL HISTORICALLY HIGH, WE'RE COMING OFF THIS CRISIS, AND THERE WAS ANOTHER BUILIDING BOOM HERE AND IN DUBAI AND OTHER PLACES. IS IT GOING TO BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME?
Mubarak: Real estae is a sector that's been hammeerd everwhere. In the case of the UAE, it's had a beating. Um, I hope people around the world, this question applies to FL, Spain, etc. You always hope people will learn and won't do it again and investors will learn from past mistakes. AS you've seen, the cycle turns back again. I believe this stime, it's been tough and rough and it will take alot of time before that correction rns its course, which means I don't see it happening again. I hope after this correction, for another long period, but it will happen.
ERIN: BUT WHAT ABOUT PROJECTS HERE IN PARTCIULAR? YOU'RE BUILDING A LOUVRE AND A GUGGENHEIM, AN ISLAND WITH EXOTIC ANIMALS, A FORMULA 1 RACETRACK. ALL OF THESE THINGS PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, THOSE ARE HOPES FROM THE BUBBLE AND THEY'RE GOING TO GO AWAY. ARE THOSE PLANS STILL ON TRACK?
Mubarak: The great thing about Abu Dhabi, will start with Mubadala, our real estate portfolio was always manageable. We didn't look, the market was today, in october 2009, we had huge undesupply when it come sot Commercial space. There's not enough commercial space, residential housing available. So, the market is in a deficit situaoitn. That's great. The Real estate sector in Abu Dhabi is still very strong. Abu Dhabi still has its uniqueness. as a place where the real estate sector is actually growing. Will have growth oppotuunities for years to come. I"m very confident about that.
Now many of the other developments you mentioned were part of plan Abu Dhabi undertook. I can tell you today, nothing has stopped. F1 is well underway. 3 weeks from now, we'll host our first grand prix, it will be on schedule, it will be delivered. State of the art facility.
You mentioned Louvre and Guggenheim, island is being developed. Both projects well underway. Nothing has changed on that afront.
all of our plans from abu dhabi perspetive, remain on track. we've managed the financial crisis well and well-posiitioned in terms of how we get out of it. The whole world is getting out of it, but abu dbhai never went that deep into it to be as damaged as others.
ERIN: AND WHAT ABOUT THE FORMULA 1? IT'S AN EXCITING EVENT. OBVIOUSLY, MUBADAL'S 5% OWNERSHIP STAKE IN FERRARI, WHICH MAYBE STARTED THE WHOLE THING. BUT WHAT IS IT GOING TO DO FOR ABU DHABI? WHY MAKE THIS INVESTMENT? WE SHOULD NOTE FOR OUR VIEWERS THAT YOU REALLY STARTED THIS PROJECT RIGHT WHEN CRISIS BEGAN AND YOU WENT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. SPENT $10-15B, THE TRACK ,HOTELS, EVERYTHING?
Mubarak: Today, mubadala's involvement in this stems from multiple areas. We have shareholdding position in ferrari, 5%. we are one of the largest shareholders in Aldar real estate - relal esate development company in the UAE that is developing this whole island that includes the track.And we are sponsors of the event. It is one of the largest sporting events to be organized, not just in the uAE, but in the whole region. and we are sponsors of the event.
important event b/c one of the largest sporting events to be organized not just in UAE but in the whole region. it's a very important sporting event. it puts puts eyes of the world on Abu Dhabi. ahhhh, we've worked hard on developing a state of the art facility through this track.
It's going to be a wonderful race, commercial opportunity. These races don't just have a direct impact on the track, but alos have a macro impact in terms of the hotels, the whole city gets activated by these events. airport, airline, car leasing, you name it. The whole city gets a commercial boost during Formula 1 week. It's great for the city and for the country and will give wonderful taste of what Abu Dhabi is all about for the whole world. Today, pockets of info are there about Abu Dhabi, but when people see what's going to happen that Formula 1 weekend, that's going to give it a different view of ABu Dhubi, UAE, and the Arab world.
ERIN: ONE THING THAT, IT'S FUNNY, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACE OF ABU DHABI, YOU'VE BECOME A VISIBLE PERSON. EVERYONE WHO'S MET YOU IN THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT, TALKS ABOUT KHALDOON, AND HOW WELL SPOKEN HE IS, AND HOW THEY LIKE TO WORK WITH YOU. DO YOU FEEL, I GUESSI DON'T WANT OT USE THE WORD PRESSURE, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING IN A SENSE BECOMING THE FACE OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF ARAB LEADERS?
Mubarak: Well, Never thought of it this way and maybe that's why i feel nothing because i haven't thought of it this way.
i've been really focused on getting the job done. the job has been to build mubadala to what it is today. i'm proud of that. any other involvement i've had witin abu dhabi, whether through Formula 1 or any other initiative i've had honor of being involved in, it's been an incredible ride for last couplke of years. I haven't had a chance to juts pause and think about it. And i think that's a good thing b/c I'm not sure how i'd feel i do that.
ERIN: THEN YOU'D FEEL STRESSED OUT...
Mubarak: I'm not stressed, i'm very confident, happy. but we have a lot to do. it's going to be a challenging couple of months to close the year, but i'm very confident we'll do well across the world.
ERIN: SO YOU'RE GOING TO BE BUSY, THERE ARE GOING TO BE DEALS. IS THERE ANY SENSE YOU CAN GIVE US -- ESPECIALLY FOR OUR AUDIENCE OF SIZE OF DEALS YOU'RE LOOKING AT? ARE THESE IN COMPANIES LIKE GE STAKES? ARE THESE BUYING SMALLER COMPANIES? AND IF SO, WHAT SORT OF SIZE IS YOUR SWEET SPOT?
Mubarak: The size of the sweet spot has been, we started small and got alot bigger, and now we're probably in medium range. We won't shy away if there's an opportunity that's very sizable that makes sense for us -- we won't shy away from that.
ERIN: WHAT'S SIZABLE?
Mubarak: Sizable is anything over $1B is sizable.
I think half billion to billion is the range we're looking it. The time it takes to really do diligence and work on these deals. The time we have to take on a $10-20m deal is the same ... as an organizatoin we're no longer suited to do these small deals. We have to be a little bit more, look bigger.
i can't give you a number for how many deals or the size we're looking at b/c you know how it works I can tell you we are looking at several very important investment opps that I'm optimistic will happen soon. WE are now taking more proactive view than had 6 or 8 months ago, simply b/c we're starting to see better deal flow. Sok, better times, better times.
ERIN: I THINK THAT'S GOOD. NOW THOSE DEALS YOU'RE LOOKING AT. THOSE ARE THE ONES YOU WERE SAYING ARE US, EUROPE, PRIMARILY?
Mubarak: No, Asia, too.
Sector actually, we're looking at. In the U.S., we're looking at financial services and also real estae, leveraged debt. So, there are instruments we're looking at that we havent looked at for a while.
ERIN: WOW, FINANCIAL SERVICES AND REAL ESTATE. YOU MUST BE FEELING BETTER
Mubarak: I think there are some good opportunities. You have to be careful and pick them right and partner with the right people. The way I think about it, you're not going to time the bottom., You're just not gonna. Frankly, because we have a long term view of things, there are some investments that we have confidence of doing today knowing there might be another correction coming up b/c we feel that these from a long term perspective will make sense.
ERIN: FINANCIAL SERVICES IN THE U.S. -- THERE'S THIS WHOLE DEBATE IN RIGHT NOW ON TOO BIG TO FAIL. AND THERE ARE A FEW BEHEMOTH BANKS AND SMALLER MORE REGIONAL ONES. WHICH GROUP HAS MOST OPPORTUNITY FOR UPSIDE?
Mubarak: The smaller ones. Um, there's um, still in my view greyness on the bigger institutions. We still don't see with clarity where this thing is going.I'm not saying that this is negative, but we're not getting yet the sort of clarity that one would want to put capital in.
ERIN: REAL ESTATE IN THE US - WHERE?
Mubarak: We are actually as we speak working on interesting op in the U.S. now, I'd rather not say more other than over next couple of weeks we'll find out if that works out. I think if it does work out, will be a very interesting opportunity. We see value in that particular deal.
ERIN: IS IT RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL?
Mubarak: Mixture of both. You can't say "I prefer Florida over CA over NYC" I'm not going to get into that. You have to look at the pkg, you have to look at the value that it's priced at, and the partner involved. In this particular case, partner involved, value, and overall pkg, we think make sense. We'll see if it works out. Bottomline: We are looking. If good ops come up, under right circumstances, we will go.
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