KKR’s earnings boosted as assets hit $61bn

PRIVATE equity behemoth KKR has revealed higher-than-expected earnings for the first three months of this year, pushing the value of its private equity investments sky high.

KKR said yesterday its economic net income was up to $742.5m (£449m) for the first-quarter.

Total assets under management for the firm hit $61bn, up from $54.7bn a year earlier.

Private equity firms have benefited from an improving economy and the return of merger and acquisition dealmaking.

KKR also benefited from taking portfolio companies, including HCA Holdings, public.

Fee-related earnings were $126m, up from $90m. The value of its private equity investments rose 6.5 per cent.

KKR is in the process of building a new buyout fund of up to $10bn. Although not as big as the firm’s $18bn fund raised in 2006, it will help to give it renewed firepower.

The private equity giant is also ramping up its efforts in the real estate sector, an area where it currently loses out to arch rival Blackstone Group.

The firm said it was too early to say whether it would raise a specialist real estate fund.