Blackstone third-quarter earnings rise 3 percent

Blackstone continued to take advantage of favorable 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 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.

Greg Roumeliotis is a reporter for Reuters News in New York