Jan 31 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co Inc said on Friday fourth-quarter after-tax distributable earnings fell 18%, owing to a decline in asset sales from its private equity business and lower transaction fee income in its capital markets unit.
KKR said after-tax distributable earnings (DE) - the cash available for paying dividends to shareholders - fell to $375.1 million compared with $460 million a year earlier.
That resulted in DE per share of 44 cents in the quarter, which exceeded the average analyst forecast of 41 cents, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.
On Thursday, KKR peers Blackstone Group Inc and Apolllo Global Management Inc also reported fourth-quarter earnings that outperformed most analyst estimates. However, their DE rose on stronger asset sales.
KKR said the value of its private equity portfolio appreciated by 27% during the 2019 full year, which compares with 9.3% and 15.6% for Blackstone and Apollo respectively.
The New York-based firm said its total assets under management rose to $218.4 billion at the end of December from $208.4 billion three months earlier. (Reporting by Chibuike Oguh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)