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Markets News

Blackstone third-quarter earnings rise on strong asset sales

NEW YORK, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP said on Wednesday third-quarter distributable earnings rose 9% year-on-year, as the world’s largest manager of alternative assets such as private equity and real estate took advantage of a rise in corporate valuations to cash out on some of its leverage buyout investments.

Distributable earnings - the cash available for paying dividends to shareholders - totaled $772 million, up from $710 million a year earlier. This translated into distributable earnings per share of 63 cents, surpassing analysts’ average estimate of 57 cents, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

Blackstone said its private equity portfolio appreciated 12.2% in the third quarter, compared with an 8.5% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 stock index over the same period. Opportunistic and core real estate funds rose 6.4% and 3.5% respectively.

During the quarter, Blackstone completed the $7 billion sale of Cheniere Energy Partners to Brookfield Asset Management and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners. It also completed the $625 million initial public offering of India’s second real estate investment trust (REIT), Mindspace Business Parks.

“Blackstone reported excellent results in the third quarter, characterized by strong investment performance and earnings growth,” Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman said in a statement.

Under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Blackstone reported net income of $794.7 million as growth in investment income was partly offset by compensation expenses.

Total assets under management rose to $584.4 billion as of the end of September, up from $564.3 billion in the previous quarter, driven by strong fundraising. Blackstone had $152.4 billion of unspent capital as of the end of September.

Blackstone said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 54 cents per share. (Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York Editing by David Holmes)

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