Blackstone Remains Exceedingly Positive Despite Seeing Profits Drop By 58%

Blackstone, the U.S. alternative asset management and financial services provider, recently posted a 58% drop in net income due to a decline in investment income.

The world’s largest publicly traded private-equity firm has seen its net income slid to $647 million from $1.55 billion a year ago. Its revenue, including management fees and investment income, plunged 44%. Its expenses, such as compensation, fell by 15%.

But even as the firm’s figures were dismal, Blackstone CEO and founder Stephen Schwarzman focused instead on highlighting the company’s successes. One of them was drawing some new funds from investors worth $45 billion in the second quarter. The fresh funds included those from wealthy people; and also involved significant public-pension funds that manage the retirement savings of government employees.

The firm’s executives often try to focus on their own derived measures instead of earnings measures derived from generally accepted accounting principles. They say that such alternative measures provide a better indicator of how the firm’s underlying operations are performing.

When basing on its own measures, Blackstone has beat expectations for distributable earnings. It has also recorded an “unprecedented” rise in assets under management to $545 billion in its final quarter, up 24% from the same period a year earlier. The firm also reported that it had amassed a $150 billion of capital available for spending on new deals.

The firm also highlighted that its distributable earnings, one of its derived measures, surged 1% to $709 million.

Schwarzman said that the 24% surge in the size of its investment book in 2018 and other results show the enormous confidence global investors had on the firm after decades of strong performance and innovation.

He added that investors had been extremely positive about the company’s decision to abandon its partnership structure and become a corporation. This move removes the tedious filing requirements seen as a burden by shareholders and a deterrent to many mutual funds from owning Blackstone shares.