Fortress Profit Sinks As Dividend Returns

Aug 4 2011 | 1:40pm ET

Possibly seeking to sweeten an otherwise unfortunate set of quarterly results, Fortress Investment Group said today that it would pay it's first dividend in three years.

Fortress said it would reinstate the dividend in the fourth quarter and has struck new contracts with its key principals.

"Our dividend reinstatement reflects the board's confidence in the financial strength and earnings power of our company, and I am pleased that we are able to reward shareholders for their investment," CEO Daniel Mudd said. "Our new principals agreement ensures that Fortress will continue to benefit from the contributions and leadership of those who founded and built the company."

Despite those happy words, the was little to cheer about at Fortress headquarters in New York. The publicly-listed alternative investments giant suffered a 13% drop in revenue as its major hedge funds all lost significant ground in the second quarter. Fortress' second-quarter loss was $94.5 million, worse both than analysts' expectations and its year-earlier loss of $92.5 million.

Indeed, there was little to cheer about at all for Fortress: Revenue dropped to $151 million, fee income dropped $23 million, hurt by its credit private equity funds and liquid hedge funds, and flagship Macro Fund fell 5.4%.

Other hedge funds did no better: Drawbridge Global Macro lost 6% on the quarter and its Commodities Fund 6.4%. The lot of them were down between 4.1% and 5.7% through July, although Fortress' Asia fund offered a bright spot, up 3% on the year.

Assets under management also provided a bit of a boost, rising by $700 million in the second quarter to $43.8 billion.


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