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Blackstone fourth-quarter distributable earnings down 42 percent on year at $722 million

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Reuters NEW YORK
By Joshua Franklin
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP, the world's largest manager of alternative assets such as private equity and real estate, said on Thursday fourth-quarter distributable earnings fell 42 percent from a year earlier to $722 million.
Distributable earnings -- the actual cash available for paying dividends -- per unit came in at 57 cents in the last three months of 2018, compared to $1 per unit a year earlier when earnings were boosted by a windfall from performance fees.
Blackstone said it would pay a quarterly distribution of 58 cents per common unit, slightly ahead of analysts' estimates for 57 cents, according to Refinitiv.
Blackstone said last week it would focus going forward on distributable earnings as its primary performance metric, instead of economic net income, which reflects the mark-to-market valuation gains or losses on its portfolio.
The move follows those of peers KKR & Co and Carlyle Group in dropping the esoteric ENI metric, as they try to make their businesses easier for investors to understand.
Prior to the announcement, analysts had expected ENI to have been adversely effected in the quarter by swings in financial markets, with the benchmark S&P 500 Index stock index suffering its worst three months in more than 7 years.
Blackstone's corporate private equity portfolio was down 2.9 percent in the quarter but up 19.1 percent overall in 2018, the firm said.
Peer Apollo Global Management on Thursday reported an ENI per share loss for the last quarter of 2018, contributing to the firm's first year in the red since 2011.
(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 6:22 PM IST

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