KKR says US economy has legs

Alexander Navab
Amanda Gordon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. believes the American economy still has several years of strong growth ahead.

"We actually see the economy recovering and has further to go through 2016 or 2017," said Alexander Navab, KKR's co-head of Americas private equity, at the Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst Conference in New York City Thursday.

"Today is actually a good time to be investing in private equity particularly in the recovery thesis in the U.S."

(Read more: Carlyle's Rubenstein still bullish on Japan, China)

Navab said corporate valuations were fair today. "We're certainly not at the low point and not at the high point," he said. "It's a decent valuation environment."

Navab gave the example of industrial equipment maker Gardner Denver, which KKR completed the acquisition of in July for approximately $3.9 billion. "We think this is quite a good company," said Navab in reference to Gardner Denver's opportunity for recovery and growth.

Navab said valuations in Brazil are, by contrast, cheap.

"The trends are quite positive, and If you have a long term view I think it's actually pretty interesting right now," said Navab. "The sentiment is limited and valuations have adjusted...a lot of people who talked about going to Brazil didn't show up."

Navab said he liked consumer oriented themes in Brazil to go along with the rising middle-class, such as compnaies in consumer products, retail, healthcare and education.

"We are seeing a fair amount of opportunities in those sectors," Navab said. "Valuations have come down."

Founded in 1976 by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, private equity-focused KKR has $83.5 billion in assets under management as of June 30.

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