KKR beats estimates with 15% rise in fourth-quarter earnings

Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York
Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 23, 2018.

Feb 8 (Reuters) - KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) said on Monday its after-tax distributable earnings rose 15% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, driven by growth in management and transaction fees from its capital markets business.

KKR's after-tax distributable earnings (DE) – the cash used to pay dividends to shareholders – rose to $431 million from $375.1 million a year earlier. This translated to DE per share of 49 cents, surpassing the average analyst estimate of 41 cents, according to data from Refinitiv.

Last month, KKR rival Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) reported a 60% rise in fourth-quarter distributable earnings, while Carlyle Group Inc (CG.O) said last week its earnings climbed 38% year-on-year. Apollo Global Management Inc (APO.N) posted a smaller-than-expected drop of 30% in fourth-quarter distributable earnings.

KKR said its private equity portfolio rose 32% during the quarter, while real estate and infrastructure funds gained 8% and 3%, respectively. Its leveraged credit funds rose by 7%.

In the fourth quarter, KKR said net income reached $1.47 billion under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), driven by a sharp rise in investment gains.

Total assets under management rose to $252 billion from $233.8 billion as of the end of September. KKR expects its assets under management to reach $342 billion following the completion of its $4.4 billion acquisition of annuities and life insurance provider Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd.

KKR, which ended the quarter with $67 billion of unspent capital, declared a dividend of $0.135 per share.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis

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