Aug 1 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP on Wednesday reported a smaller-than-expected drop in its second-quarter earnings, as its funds appreciated less than a year earlier, but more than what most analysts had estimated.
Washington-based Carlyle's economic net income per share came in at 69 cents in the three months through the end of June. This was down from 81 cents a year earlier, yet ahead of analysts' expectations for 52 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Overall economic net income, which reflects the mark-to-market valuation gains or losses on Carlyle's portfolio and is a closely watched earnings metric, was $237.7 million.
"Carlyle's momentum continued in the second quarter, with strong fund performance, fundraising and realization activity. We are making progress in growing fee related earnings, with further room to accelerate," co-Chief Executives Kewsong Lee and Glenn Youngkin said in a statement.
Carlyle said its carry fund portfolio, from which it earns performance fees, appreciated 5 percent in the quarter. Its private equity funds appreciated by 3 percent, compared with a 9.5 percent appreciation in the private equity portfolio of rival Blackstone Group LP and a 6.7 percent rise in the private equity portfolio of competitor KKR & Co Inc.
Carlyle, which invests across private equity, credit and real estate, continued to take advantage of the healthy investor demand for alternative assets. Its assets under management grew to $209.7 billion from $201.5 billion at the end of March.
Distributable earnings - the actual cash available for paying dividends - fell to $115 million from $199 million a year earlier. This echoed Blackstone, which last month reported second-quarter distributable earnings of $700.1 million, down from $781.4 million.
KKR, on the other hand, reported last week a 46 percent year-on-year rise in distributable earnings for the second quarter, to $404.7 million from $276.9 million a year earlier.
Carlyle declared a distribution of 22 cents for the second quarter.
Reporting by Joshua Franklin in NEW YORK