January 30, 2020 / 12:51 PM / 24 days ago

Blackstone's Q4 profit rises on asset sales, fee revenue

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group Inc, the world’s largest alternative asset manager, said on Thursday its fourth-quarter distributable earnings rose 27 percent year-on-year, as strong growth in its real estate and hedge funds businesses offset declines in its private equity and credit divisions.

Distributable earnings - the cash available for paying dividends to shareholders - came in at $914 million in the quarter, translating to 72 cents per share, higher than the 67 cents per share that analysts forecast on average, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

During the quarter, Blackstone sold off its remaining 10.8 percent stake in Invitation Homes, the largest single-family rental home operator in the U.S., raking in more than $1.7 billion.

The buyout firm also completed the sale of its 61 percent stake in Swedish property firm Hembla AB to German real estate giant Vonovia SE for about $1.3 billion.

Blackstone said its private equity portfolio was up 1.5 percent in the quarter, even as the benchmark S&P 500 stock index rose 8.5 percent over the same period. Opportunistic funds and core real estate funds rose 4.7 percent and 2.9 percent in the quarter, respectively.

The New York-based firm said its fee-related earnings, the amount gained from management fees and a key component of distributable earnings, rose 27 percent year-on-year to $551.8 million.

Total assets under management rose to $571.1 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $554 billion three months earlier.

Blackstone said it would pay a quarterly distribution of 61 cents per share, totaling $1.95 per share for the year. (Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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