AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB.N) said on Tuesday that fourth-quarter net revenue rose 13 percent to $705 million after the U.S. asset manager booked positive net flows from customers for the first time since before the financial crisis.
Controlled by French insurance giant Axa SA (AXAF.PA), AllianceBernstein said total net inflows were $5 billion in the quarter. That was an $18.2 billion improvement from the year-earlier period, when clients, namely big institutions, pulled $13.2 billion from their investment accounts.
But now, the company's retail franchise, for example, is doing well selling fixed-income investments in Asia, with commanding leads in Taiwan and Hong Kong, AllianceBernstein Chief Executive Officer Peter Kraus said on a conference call.
Gross retail sales in the fourth quarter were $16.4 billion, and net inflows were $5.3 billion, the company said.
Net income was $71.7 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $516.4 million that included a noncash charge for incentive compensation.
Excluding a real estate charge, earnings per unit were 40 cents in the latest quarter, beating the analysts' average estimate of 33 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Assets under management were $437 billion at the end of January, but that is well below the more than $800 billion that the company had at the end of 2007.
AllianceBernstein shares were up 0.3 percent at $21.50 in trading before the market opened.
At Monday's close, the stock was up 49 percent over the past 12 months, beating a 13 percent rise for the Standard & Poor's 500 index .SPX, as the company cut costs and reversed more than four years of outflows. But the shares are down from above $90 in 2007.
(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)