Property aids profit surge at Blackstone

City A.M. Reporter
PRIVATE equity and real estate investor Blackstone Group said it will start fundraising for its next real estate fund this year, expected to be the same size as its $10bn (£6.2bn) 2008 fund.

Blackstone said the value of its real estate funds rose 19 per cent for the quarter and 69 per cent for the year, while its private equity portfolio rose three per cent for the quarter and 29 per cent for the full-year.

The firm also just started investing its latest private equity fund -- called BCP VI – which reached nearly $15bn as of 7 January. In total, it has about $30bn of capital to invest.

Blackstone said that the value of its investments increased sharply in the fourth quarter, boosting quarterly earnings and beating analysts’ forecasts. Fourth-quarter economic net income (ENI) was $513m, up from $329m a year earlier. Adjusted ENI was 46 cents per share, up from 29 cents a year ago. The company is paying a quarterly distribution to shareholders of 32 cents a share, bringing its full-year distribution for 2010 to 62 cents a share.