Lazard takes 4Q loss as revenue plunges

Lazard posts 4th-quarter loss, saying financial advisory and asset management revenue dropped

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Investment bank Lazard Ltd. reported a loss for the fourth quarter on Monday as revenue from financial advisory and asset management services plunged.

"The decline in revenues, combined with our discipline on compensation deferrals, led to a drop in our earnings in the fourth quarter," said Chairman and CEO Kenneth Jacobs.

The results fell short of Wall Street estimates, and shares of Lazard sank $1.30, or 4.5 percent, to $27.59 in midday trading.

Lazard said it lost $4.8 million, or 4 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. A year ago it reported net income of $99.9 million, or 77 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. Its net revenue fell 24 percent to $451.8 million, from $594.9 million.

Analysts expected Lazard to report a profit of 38 cents per share and $456.5 million in revenue, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.

The company said its financial advisory revenue fell 26 percent to $260 million. Revenue from advising companies on strategy dropped 39 percent to $185 million. During the quarter Lazard was involved in transactions including Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of Skype, the sale of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. to two private equity firms, and the separation of ITT Corp. in to three separate companies.

Lazard's asset management fees fell 20 percent to $204 million. Its management fees declined 6 percent to $190 million. Incentive fees dropped to $5 million from $44 million because performance fees for alternative investments decreased.

The company said it managed $141 billion in assets at the end of 2011, down 9 percent from a year ago.

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