Blackstone third-quarter earnings rise 3 percent

Reuters

(Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP , the largest publicly listed alternative asset manager, said on Thursday its third-quarter earnings increased by 3 percent from a year ago as fee revenue and profits from sales of its holdings rose.

Blackstone continued to take advantage of favourable capital markets to return money to fund investors. Its private equity, credit assets and hedge funds appreciated more slowly than a year ago, while real estate continued to be its star performer.

"We are seeing increased momentum in realizing gains for our fund investors, with $6.7 billion (4.1 billion pounds) of total realizations in the third quarter and $26 billion over the past twelve months," Chief Executive and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman said in a statement.

Blackstone, which has investments in the Weather Channel, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc , said economic net income (ENI), a measure of profitability that takes into account the mark-to-market valuation of its portfolio, was $640.2 million, up from $621.8 million in the third quarter of 2012.

This translated into ENI per unit of 56 cents, slightly higher than the average analyst estimate of 55 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Blackstone's real estate holdings rose in value by 5.8 percent, contributing $414 million to ENI. Private equity assets rose by 4.2 percent, contributing only $80.5 million, as the value of some of publicly traded investments fell.

Distributable earnings, or actual cash available to pay dividends, rose by 59 percent to $312.7 million, with private equity and real estate contributing almost equally.

Total assets under management hit a record $248 billion at the end of September, up 21 percent year on year. Fee-earning assets under management rose 12 percent to $188.7 billion.

Blackstone declared a quarterly distribution of 23 cents per common unit.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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