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UPDATE 1-Och-Ziff quarterly earnings boosted by strong incentive income

Thursday, 6 Feb 2014 | 8:13 AM ET

BOSTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC on Thursday reported a sharply higher quarterly profit that beat Wall Street analysts' forecasts after stronger returns at its hedge fund portfolios boosted the company's incentive fee income. Fourth-quarter distributable earnings, excluding costs related to its November 2007 initial public offering, totaled $559.0 million, or $1.15 per Adjusted Class A share. That beat estimates of 83 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. A year ago Och-Ziff, one of only a handful of publicly traded hedge fund companies, reported distributable earnings of $351.3 million, or 77 cents. Double digit returns at all of its funds last year helped draw in fresh customer money and boosted incentive income to $1.1 billion, up 80 percent from $600.4 million a year ago. Hedge funds unlike most mutual funds are able to charge an incentive fee on top of a management fee. "We grew to a record level of assets under management, earned record revenues and distributable earnings, and paid a record full-year dividend. We are extremely pleased with these results," Daniel Och, the company's chairman and chief executive said in a statement. At the end of Dec 2013, assets under management stood at $40.2 billion, 23 percent higher than at the end of December 2012. By the end of January assets had climbed to $41.3 billion as investors including pension funds added $1.1 billion in new money. Strong earnings helped boost the company's dividend to $1.12 which will be paid on February 25 to holders of record on February 18. The company's history of strong returns have also made it popular with investors. Its share price climbed 43 percent in the last 12 months. It closed at $14.48 on Wednesday.

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