Blackstone Reports Q2 Gains, Beats Estimates

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N) reported a jump in second quarter profit Thursday, topping Wall Street expectations, and said it would pay a full quarterly distribution to shareholders.

Second-quarter earnings before income taxes, noncash charges for vesting equity-based compensation, and amortization of intangible assets — a measure it calls “economic net income” (ENI) — were $173 million, up from $100 million a year earlier.

On an after-tax basis, ENI was 16 cents a share, compared with 15 cents a year earlier. Analysts polled by Reuters expected, on average, 9 cents per share.

Blackstone shares fell 35 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $14.61 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Through Wednesday the shares had climbed 30 percent this week, partly on optimism the company would surpass earnings expectations.

Blackstone prefers to focus on ENI because of the big payouts associated with its more than $4 billion initial public offering in June 2007.

The company said it would pay its regular quarterly distribution of 30 cents a share.

Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that Blackstone has the “largest amount of available capital in our history across our investment platforms.”

Blackstone shares closed on Wednesday at $14.96, half their value of $31 at the firm’s IPO. The company is valued at about $17 billion at current levels. (Reporting by Megan Davies; editing by John Wallace)