Carlyle Profit Drops

Feb 21 2013 | 4:32pm ET

The Carlyle Group has suffered its first disappointing quarter as a publicly-traded company, with profits down almost 30%.

The private equity giant said its economic net income fell to $182 million in the fourth quarter from $254 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, when it was still a private concern. Carlyle went public in May of last year.

The decline was attributed to lower performance fees, an unspecified investment write-down and a surge in compensation costs. Revenue fell 9.2% to $755.3 million, while compensation and benefits more than doubled, to $376.6 million.

Despite the ugly numbers, Carlyle's leaders said they were bullish. Its funds rose 4% on the quarter and 14% on the year, and the firm raised $4.6 billion in new capital, with assets under management up to $170.2 billion.

"Although people can argue whether the enormous global liquidity is a good thing or a bad thing, we would be derelict if we didn't take advantage of the present situation," co-founder William Conway said.

Under generally-accepted accounting principles, Carlyle's Q4 was even worse, with profit down to $84.4 million from $438.8 million. Distributable earnings were down to $188 million, from $247 million.

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