Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray bullish on emerging markets

"People need your capital more," in such areas, Gray said
February 17, 2014 05:40PM

Jonathan Gray of the New York City-based Blackstone Group has plans to invest roughly $80 million in real estate in the year ahead — but his eye is cast overseas.

The firm will be investing more capital in the international market, Gray told the assembled crowd at the Harbor Investment Conference Thursday, because developing countries “are beginning to look much more interesting.” As capital has recently fled from China, India and Brazil and other burgeoning markets, a void is emerging that he is eager to fill, he told the crowd.

While many investors view emerging markets as too scary because of concerns about opaque governments, the residential bubble bursting in China or corruption in India, Gray said that the uncertainty can prove beneficial to investors. As others’ funds drip away, “our capital gets treated better,” he said. “You can buy things at a more favorable price because people need your capital more.”

He described Europe, meanwhile, as “a distress story,” and said that while he sees good signs in the hotel business there, the economy as a whole is “not a rocket ship.”

Blackstone Group ended its tremendous 2013 with a fourth-quarter profit of $621.3 million — a more than five-fold increase from $106.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to its latest earnings report.[Bloomberg News]Julie Strickland