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London staff at $330bn (£262bn) private equity giant Apollo Global have recently begun working from home amid fears about coronavirus, executives said on a call Thursday.
Jim Zelter, co-president of Apollo, told investors on a call that all of the company’s Asia-based staff and those in London were already working remotely. Apollo has a London office in the elite Mayfair neighbourhood.
Zelter said Apollo was testing remote working in the US and was confident it could keep operating if staff are forced to work from home.
“The pipes are all working and we are open for business,” he told investors.
Apollo is one of the biggest private equity companies in the world, with $331bn of assets under management. As well as private equity, Apollo also invests in credit markets and real estate.
The move to send staff home comes as the UK ramps up precautions to stem the spread of COVID-19. Some companies, such as JP Morgan, have already executed contingency plans.
The spread of novel coronavirus has also sparked panic in financial markets. Zelter told clients Apollo has $50bn of “dry powder” on hand to navigate the current market volatility and cherry pick any attractive investments that crop up amid falling prices.
“We’re now seeing attractive investments in well-known and high quality names where we can take secured risk and earn excess returns,” Zelter said.
Co-president Scott Kleinman, who was also on the call, said the slump in the market had created an opportunity to buy shares in companies at attractive valuations.
“At this moment in time there are about 50 names that are on our watch list that have moved into the zone of interesting and we are actively starting to acquire in a number of those,” Kleinman said.
The slump in equity values in public markets has also created new opportunities for outright acquisitions, Kleinman said.
“I would expect to see those in the coming months and quarters,” he told investors.
A spokesperson for Apollo declined to comment.