Blackstone’s revenues soar in first quarter

The listed firm’s investment funds increased in value across all asset classes, driving increases in revenues. The firm has about $17bn of uncalled private equity capital.

The Blackstone Group reported strong earnings in the first quarter driven by increases in all investment funds, according to Stephen Schwarzman, the listed firm’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Blackstone reported an increase in economic net income of 58 percent to $568 million, compared to $360 million in the same time period last year. Total assets under management increased to $150 billion and the firm had about $32 billion of uninvested capital across all funds at the end of the first quarter, Blackstone reported Thursday.

Fee earning assets under management in private equity increased to $36 billion from $25 billion last year. Real estate fee-earning assets slightly increased to $26 billion in the first quarter from about $24 billion last year.

Private equity revenues actually decreased in the first quarter to $273.7 million compared to $276.8 million in 2010. The firm said its sixth private equity fund began its investment period in January, though it’s not clear if that fund, which could total about $14.7 billion, has officially closed.

Blackstone had $16.9 billion of unused capital in private equity at the end of Q1, and used about $653 million for investments during the quarter.

In real estate, the firm had revenues of $555.6 million for the first quarter, a huge increase from the $152.2 million during the same time period last year.

“Improved operating performance, primarily across the hospitality and office segments, led to an increase in the real estate investments’ carrying values, which drove an increase in performance fees,” the firm said.

Blackstone had $8.6 billion of unspent capital as of the first quarter and invested $654.4 million during the quarter. Blackstone has began fundraising for its seventh real estate fund, with the sixth fund reaching about 82 percent invested at the end of the first quarter, the firm said.