(Adds comments from Blackstone president and analyst, share
By Greg Roumeliotis
April 20 Blackstone Group LP, the largest
manager of private equity and real estate assets, reported a
bigger-than-expected jump in quarterly earnings on Thursday
after the Wall Street rally helped it realize record proceeds
from sales of its holdings.
Stock prices rose on hopes of policy changes under the new
administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Blackstone
co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman is an
economic adviser to Trump and chairs his strategic and policy
"I don't know what the Trump administration policies really
are, or what will happen in Washington," Blackstone President
Tony James told reporters on a conference call. "We are seeing
some benefits from the greater confidence the business community
Blackstone said the sale of assets for top dollar allowed it
to pay its second-highest quarterly dividend ever at 87 cents
per common unit.
Economic net income per share, which reflects the
mark-to-market valuation of Blackstone's portfolio, more than
doubled to 82 cents from 31 cents a year earlier.
This surpassed the analysts' average estimate of 68 cents
per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"Greater than forecast performance fees drove the beat,"
Jefferies LLC analysts wrote in a research note.
Blackstone shares were up 1.4 percent at $30.47 in the early
Distributable earnings, which show actual cash available to
pay dividends, rose 212 percent to $1.23 billion in the first
Blackstone's private equity business showed the most growth
in economic net income at 291 percent, and its buyout funds
appreciated 6.9 percent.
The real estate business posted an 86 percent rise in
economic net income, with a 5.7 percent appreciation for its
"opportunistic" real estate funds.
Economic net income increased 263 percent at Blackstone's
credit business and 217 percent for its hedge fund of funds.
During the quarter, Blackstone divested its 25 percent stake
in hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and took
Invitation Homes Inc public for $1.8 billion in the
second-largest initial public offering a real estate investment
Assets under management were up 7 percent at $368.2 billion
on March 31 from a year earlier. Fee-earning assets under
management rose 15 percent to $280.2 billion.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Alden
Bentley and Lisa Von Ahn)