Onex swings to Q4 profit; says worst of recession over

(Reuters) – Canadian private-equity firm Onex Corp (OCX.TO) swung to a fourth-quarter profit, and said it was well positioned to take advantage of investment opportunities.

“It feels good to have 2009 behind us,” said Chief Executive Gerald Schwartz. “There seem to be signs that the worst of the economic recession has passed and that the general sense of malaise is gradually lifting.”

For the fourth quarter, Onex reported net earnings of C$40 million compared to a net loss of C$348 million a year ago.

Revenue fell 9 percent to C$6.2 billion. Analysts on average expected revenue of C$6.13 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

During the fourth quarter, Onex Credit Partners (OCP) raised over C$200 million for its new OCP Credit Strategy Fund, a publicly traded Canadian retail fund, which helped triple OCP’s assets under management during the year, the company said.

Cash flow from operations rose 46 percent to C$562 million.

The company said it has over C$1 billion of cash and cash-like investments, no debt and US$3.9 billion of uncalled third-party capital available.

Shares of the company closed at C$25.10 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D’Silva)