Blackstone Reports Net Income Increase in Third Quarter

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Despite facing difficult year-over-year comparisons, narrow-moat rated Blackstone reported positive results for the third quarter, with economic net income, or ENI, rising 3% on a 1% increase in revenue. Total assets under management, or AUM, reached a record $248 billion, up 21% when compared with third quarter 2012, with double-digit gains reported in each of its investment operations.

Fee-earning AUM rose just 12% year over year, though, leading to a similarly sized gain in Blackstone’s management and advisory fee revenue. The company also reported a 10% decline in performance fee income during the third quarter, despite the robust performance of its real estate operations, as Blackstone recorded a marked drop in performance fees from its other operating segments (with private equity seeing the largest decline year over year).

With investment-related income up just 3% as well, it was not too surprising to see the firm report just a 1% increase in third-quarter revenue. That said, full-year results look set to hit our forecast of 30%-plus top-line growth, even as the firm faces difficult comparisons in the fourth quarter, as Blackstone’s overall revenue was up 38% during the first three quarters of 2013.

Looking more closely at profitability, the company reported a 3% increase in its ENI during the third quarter, but was still up close to 50% on a year-to-date basis, leaving it well-positioned to hit our 40%-plus target for the full year. Based on third-quarter distributable earnings of $313 million (or $0.26 per common unit), Blackstone announced it would be paying unitholders a cash distribution of $0.23 per share for the period.

Through the first nine months of 2013, the company has distributed $0.76 per share to common unitholders. With Blackstone’s year-to-date results on pace to put its full-year results at the upper end of our forecast range, we’ve increased our fair value estimate for the firm to $27 per share.

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