July 24, 2014 / 11:47 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 2-Lazard profit beats estimates on rise in M&A advisory fees

* Second-quarter adjusted earnings $0.64/shr vs est. $0.57

* M&A and other advisory revenue up 7 pct

* Asset-management revenue up 18 pct (Adds Breakingviews link, updates shares)

July 24 (Reuters) - Investment bank and asset manager Lazard Ltd reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as merger and acquisition advisory and asset management fees rose amid an increase in corporate deals.

Lazard’s M&A and other advisory fees rose 7 percent in the second quarter ended June 30.

Globally, deals worth $1.75 trillion have been struck this year to June 26, up 75 percent from a year earlier and the highest level since 2007 before the financial crisis, according to Thomson Reuters data.

In one of its big deals in the second quarter, Lazard advised jet engine parts maker Firth Rixson on the $2.85 billion sale to aluminum group Alcoa Inc.

Lazard’s adjusted net profit rose to $85 million, or 64 cents per share, in the quarter from $60 million, or 45 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 57 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total operating revenue grew 12 percent to $571 million, topping the average analyst estimate of $529.31 million.

Lazard has been diversifying to rely less on merger advisory revenue, which tends to be volatile, by expanding its asset-management unit.

Revenue in the company’s asset-management business rose 18 percent in the quarter as a rise in stock prices boosted fees.

Assets under management rose to $205 billion from $163 billion.

Lazard’s shares were up 2.6 percent at $ 52.25 in afternoon trading on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has risen 3.8 percent since the company reported first-quarter results in May. (Reporting by Neha Dimri in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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