February 5, 2020 / 4:46 PM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-Carlyle's fourth-quarter earnings dive 18% on lower asset sales

(Adds details from earnings call)

By Chibuike Oguh

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Carlyle Group Inc said on Wednesday fourth-quarter distributable earnings dropped 18%, as lower proceeds from asset sales in its private equity division eclipsed growth in its real asset portfolio.

The Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm said its after-tax distributable earnings - the cash available for paying dividends to shareholders - for the quarter totaled $171.7 million, a drop from $210.5 million a year earlier.

This resulted in an after-tax distributable earnings per share of 47 cents, which exceeded average analysts' forecast of 43 cents, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

Last week, Blackstone Group Inc and Apollo Global Management Inc reported fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed estimates, but their distributable earnings rose on stronger asset sales. KKR & Co Inc also reported better-than-expected earnings despite slower asset sales.

Carlyle's private equity funds increased by 8% for the 2019 financial year. By comparison, private equity funds of Blackstone appreciated by 9.3%, for Apollo by 15.6% and for KKR by 27%.

At the end of December, Carlyle said its unspent capital stood at $69 billion, while Blackstone had $151 billion, Apollo had $46 billion, and KKR's unspent capital totaled $57 billion.

Carlyle said it expects to raise $20 billion in 2020, mostly in its global credit and investment solutions divisions.

"While it's too early to discuss specific fund targets or timing, our goal for platform growth is for a 20% to 30% uplift in fundraising compared to the prior multi-year campaign," Co-CEO Glenn Youngkin said on Wednesday during an earnings call with analysts and reporters.

In July last year, Carlyle became the first U.S. private equity firm to announce that it would adopt a single-share structure, a move designed to expand its shareholder base and allows its inclusion in market indexes closely followed by large money managers.

Carlyle said it expects to be added to the Russell 1000 and S&P Total Market indexes, among others.

"We expect to be added to the Misky and S&P total market indices as well as several smaller indices which will occur in the March to June time frame," Chief Financial Officer Curt Buser said during the call. "And we continue to believe we have met the criteria for inclusion in the S&P 500, but that, of course, is a more subjective evaluation."

Carlyle's fourth-quarter total assets under management stood at $224 billion, compared with $221.8 billion reported in the previous quarter. (Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Steve Orlofsky)

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