Having cash-rich MatlinPatterson Global Advisers heavily invested in your company goes a long way toward helping you see past the current market carnage into a future where profits can be built from the wreckage.

That seems to be the case for Standard Pacific Homes, which was rescued from an impending cash crisis last summer when MatlinPatterson infused the company with cash in exchange for just one share short of a majority control.

That allowed CEO Jeffrey Peterson to talk about a future for the company beyond the current market crash at the UBS investor conference Tuesday, Nov. 11.

"We are going to be the acquistor as opposed to the conservator," Peterson said. "So we are going to be evaluating opportunities very diligently. We do have capital."

Peterson said that Standard Pacific needs to get better--"the status quo is unacceptable"--but that having MatlinPatterson on board is "like working with a personal trainer."

"We're going to be faster, stronger, more flexible, more fit, and we will be bigger as opposed to going to the cosmetic surgeon, getting the facelift and looking great but still having a lot of fat and flab," he said.

One audience member asked Peterson if it makes sense for Standard Pacific to operate as a public company with so much private money from MatlinPatterson invested.

"MatlinPatterson's equity is in a fund, and funds have a finite life. And at some point, they're going to have to find a liquidity event for them to exit, and we're not certain what that would be," Peterson answered. "But, at this point, being a public company, I don't think there's any reason to think that we would not continue in that fashion."

While Standard Pacific has plans to be an acquirer, Peterson said it will be more cautious than in the last cycle.

"Shame on us in the sense that we expanded our land position late in the cycle," Peterson noted. "Moving forward, we're going to be very sensitive to monitoring where we are in the cycle, and when the cycle is at its peak, we're certainly going to be very much lighter than we look today."