Blackstone narrows 4Q loss on stronger real estate operations
Blackstone Group narrowed its fourth-quarter loss on strengthening real estate investments. The private-equity firm reported a loss of nearly $11 million, or 3 cents a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, based on generally accepted accounting principles. That's significantly narrower than the loss of $143.3 million a year earlier. Excluding charges for acquisitions and the company's initial public offering but including other gains, Blackstone said its economic net income rose 56% for the quarter to $512.7 million, or 46 cents a unit, from $329.4 million, or 29 cents, in 2009. Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $1.08 billion from $725.3 million, helped by increased real estate investment income. For the full year, Blackstone reported a GAAP loss of $370 million compared with a loss of $715 million for 2009. After accounting for the items, Blackstone said its economic net income was $1.42 billion for 2010, double the $703.1 million a year earlier. Revenue for the year rose 75% to $3.12 billion from $1.77 billion for 2009. Blackstone ended 2010 with $128.1 billion in assets under management, up more than 30% from about $98.2 billion, driven by net inflows and market appreciation. CEO Stephen Schwarzman said quarterly results were the best in about four years, and the company ended the year "in a stronger position than ever before, with all of our businesses experiencing higher levels of activity." "In 2010, we continued to provide our limited partner investors with best-inclass returns across all of our businesses, and our LPs entrusted us with nearly $18 billion in new capital," Schwarzman said. Blackstone invested nearly $10 billion across its businesses in 2010 and had $30 billion of committed but uninvested capital or, "dry powder," at the end of the year. Write to Jason Philyaw.