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Apollo 4Q earnings rise on fees, investment gains

NEW YORK (AP) -- Apollo Global Management LLC is generating more profit as the value of its investments rises.

Rival private equity firms The Blackstone Group LP and KKR & Co. LP have recently reported similar improvements in their results.

New York-based Apollo on Friday reported net income of $171.5 million, or $1.12 per share, for the fourth quarter compared with $10.9 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago. Its revenue surged to $1.16 billion from $646 million.

Wall Street analysts use a profit measure called economic net income to track the performance of private equity firms. It excludes certain items, including charges related to the firm's 2007 private stock sale.

By that measure, Apollo's profit nearly doubled to $697 million, or $1.69 per share, from $357 million, or 80 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1.05 per share.

The value of the investments and funds managed by Apollo, its assets under management, rose 51 percent to $113.4 billion, which the firm credited to growth in the division that invests in debt.

In the private equity business, the company's profit more than doubled, to $609 million, as it benefited from gains in the value of its holdings.

The rising stock market tends to make the companies' private equity holdings worth more and makes it easier to profitably sell companies to the public market. The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 14,000 for the first time since December 2007 last week.

The company made money from selling off some of its stakes in Dutch manufacturer LyondellBasell and cable provider Charter Communications Inc. during the fourth quarter.

Despite growth in fees to manage credit investment funds, profit in Apollo's credit division dropped 36 percent, to $90 million. Its real estate segment posted a narrower loss.