April 26, 2018 / 2:59 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 3-M&A advisory, asset management fuel Lazard's profit beat

(Adds CEO comment, details, shares)

By Aparajita Saxena

April 26 (Reuters) - Lazard Ltd topped Wall Street’s profit estimates on Thursday as it advised on some of the biggest global deals, while its asset management unit gained from higher inflows into its emerging markets equities as well as fixed income products.

Shares of the company rose 4 percent to $54 in morning trading.

Revenue from the financial advisory business, which includes M&A advisory, rose 15.8 percent in the first quarter as the firm closed several big deals, including U.S. power generator Calpine Corp’s $17.1 billion sale to a consortium led by private equity firm Energy Capital Partners.

M&A activity got off to a strong start this year, with a record $1.2 trillion worth of global deals announced in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Data also showed that Lazard had a market share of 11.2 percent for completed deals globally in the latest quarter, making it the seventh biggest adviser.

The global macroeconomic environment in the near- to mid-term remains supportive for Lazard’s business, Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Jacobs told Reuters.

However, Lazard’s restructuring business struggled in the quarter, and the company expects this to continue for the rest of the year.

“The business is coming off a pretty strong cycle a couple of years ago, driven by restructuring of the oil and gas and natural resources industry,” Jacobs said.

The company’s asset management business also grew at a rapid clip, accounting for 45.6 percent of its total operating revenue. Assets under management increased 17 percent to $251.7 billion.

Total revenue jumped 20.5 percent to $768.2 million, while provision for income taxes fell 39.2 percent due to U.S. tax reforms.

Net income attributable to Lazard rose to $159.7 million, or $1.21 per share, in the quarter ended March 31 from $107.6 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.26 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.04, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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