KKR’s Kravis Says Buyout Firm Thrives on Dislocation in Markets

Henry Kravis, co-Chairman of KKR & Co., said the buyout firm he helped found in 1976 and runs with George Roberts thrives on market disruption.

“We are constantly looking for dislocation,” Kravis said at the SuperReturn International conference in Berlin today. “The more dislocation we see in the market the happier we are.”

Kravis said New York-based KKR sees opportunities in Europe over a three-to-five-year time horizon, including in Spain, even as the euro-region sovereign-debt crisis drags on. The firm is still investing in India, China and southeast Asia “in a major way,” and is looking at “a number of opportunities in Australia,” Kravis said, without elaborating.

KKR has “practically closed” an Asia fund after “raising through” the $6 billion cap, Kravis said. “We raised it faster because people want to be in Asia.”

KKR said earlier this month that the value of its private-equity portfolio rose 4 percent in the fourth quarter and 24 percent last year. By comparison, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of large U.S. stocks declined 1 percent in the quarter and gained 13 percent in 2012. KKR said it returned $9 billion to investors in 2012, the most in its 36-year history.