Lazard shares soar despite profit fall on market turmoil

ELITE US investment bank Lazard pleased investors with a 24 per cent surge in revenue gained from advising on M&A in the third quarter.

Lazard shares bounced as much as 18 per cent after it posted the better than expected rise in advisory revenues to $199.1m (£124.5m). Despite the gain, Lazard’s third-quarter pre-tax profits fell 12 per cent to $69.6m as its core business operating revenue rose just two per cent to $470.3m as expenses rose.

Chief financial officer Matthieu Bucaille said Lazard gained market share during the quarter because of fortuitous deal closings, but is conservative about its outlook.

“We remain cautious because the volatility we’ve experienced recently has really impacted confidence,” he said. “In M&A, confidence is key.”

Assets under management had fallen 16 per cent since June to $135.8bn, or five per cent year-on-year, after a torrid quarter in equity markets, where Lazard’s asset management business is focused. But asset management revenues gained four per cent to $216.7m as Lazard raised its fees.

Lazard booked an $18.2m pre-tax gain from buying back subordinated bonds, but did not include this in its profit figures.