Investment Banking

Blackstone Misses Estimates, AUM Hits Record

The buyout firm's economic net income rose 36% in Q2 but gains from real estate were offset by a 51% drop in credit investment earnings.
Matthew HellerJuly 21, 2017

Investment firm Blackstone Group reported a 36% increase in earnings but missed analysts’ estimates as credit investments were hit by a drop in commodity prices.

Blackstone’s economic net income (ENI) — a key metric for U.S. private equity that accounts for unrealized investment gains or losses — rose to $705 million in the second quarter, or 59 cents a share, from $520 million, or 44 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts, however, had forecast earnings of 62 cents a share. In trading Thursday, Blackstone shares fell 1.4% to $34.28.

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“Blackstone reported strong results for our shareholders in the second quarter,” CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman said in a news release. “The firm remains in top form — revenue, earnings, and distributions all saw double-digit growth versus the prior year, and AUM [assets under management] reached a new all-time high of $371 billion.”

Blackstone’s real estate arm led the surge in AUM, with assets reaching $104 billion as of June 30, up 1.9% from March 31 and up 1% from June 30, 2016. The division’s ENI rose 94% to $406 million, with $4.6 billion in realizations driven by public stock sales of Hilton-related companies and Equity Office Properties asset sales.

Performance fees in the real estate business jumped 155% to $494.1 million while investment income leapt 236% to $37.1 million.

Private equity was Blackstone’s second-largest business segment with $100 billion as of June 30, flat from both March 31 and June 30, 2016. Economic net income increased 35% to $178 million.

But earnings from the credit investment business dropped 51% to $62 million, while performance fees slumped 68%to $35 million between April and June. Blackstone attributed the performance of the sector to the decrease in commodity prices in the energy portfolio.

“Our LPs continue to entrust us with more of their capital to manage as we extend our expertise across more investment strategies,” Schwarzman said. “I’m confident that our culture of excellence, integrity and innovation will continue to serve our investors in the coming decades as well as it has in our last.”