Blackstone earnings beat forecasts on real estate, energy

Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone's chairman and CEO.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Blackstone, the world's largest alternative asset manager, on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings growth on robust real estate investment returns and rebounding energy prices.

New York-based Blackstone is the first large private equity firm to report results for the second quarter. Its strong showing may mark a turn for the sector, which has smarted from falling oil prices in the past year.

Blackstone said economic net income, a key metric for U.S. private equity firms that accounts for unrealized gains or losses in investments, rose 2 percent to $519.8 million, or 44 cents per share from a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a 9 percent decline to 39 cents per share from 43 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, distributable earnings, which are available to pay dividends, fell 52 percent to 42 cents per common unit from 88 cents. Blackstone declared a second-quarter dividend of 36 cents per unit.

Blackstone's real estate arm outshone the other divisions. Its economic income jumped 53 percent to $209.2 million, bolstered in part by sales of two commercial properties.

The credit division, which took a beating from tumbling oil prices in the past year, recovered with a 7 percent rise in economic income due to "a significant rebound in energy investments," Blackstone said.

Investors once again handed more cash to Blackstone to manage, with its assets under management increasing 7 percent to a record $356.3 billion.