Oaktree’s Wintrob Says No Time for Fire Sale as Markets Rebound

  • CEO sees opportunity in energy, non-performing Europe loans
  • Wintrob looks to invest ‘higher up in the capital structure’

Oaktree Capital Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Jay Wintrob said he’s in no race to sell holdings that the asset manager picked up at depressed prices.

“Given where asset prices are, you think it would be an outstanding opportunity for realizations, and it is in some asset classes, in some markets,” Wintrob said Tuesday during a conference hosted by Morgan Stanley in New York. “We don’t see it as a fire-sale time.”

Oaktree, the world’s largest distressed-debt investor, has raised more than $20 billion for its funds in the past 18 months as it capitalized from a credit plunge, especially in the energy and commodities sectors. Howard Marks, the firm’s co-chairman, said at the end of last year that there have been the most investment opportunities since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in 2008.

Wintrob said energy is still among the best opportunities, even after Oaktree sold some public securities in the industry while fuel prices rebounded in February, he said. He also highlighted the prospects for non-performing loans in Europe, where banks have struggled under tighter capital rules.

“Mainly we’re trying to be investing higher up in the capital structure of energy companies,” Wintrob said. He said he’s seeking investments where Oaktree will prosper either if the debt performs or if the borrower goes through a restructuring.

Oaktree slipped 51 cents to $45.31 at 11:31 a.m. in New York. The Los Angeles-based company has dropped 5.1 percent this year after slumping 7.9 percent in 2015.

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