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Carlyle's 4Q earnings rise on strong asset sales

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By Chibuike Oguh

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Carlyle Group Inc said on Thursday its fourth quarter distributable earnings rose 38% year-on-year, surpassing analysts' expectations, as it cashed out on more assets in its private equity and credit businesses.

Distributable earnings (DE)--the cash available to pay dividends to shareholders--rose to $236.9 million from $171.7 million a year earlier. This translated to DE per share of 64 cents, outperforming the average analyst estimate of 44 cents, according to data provider Refinitiv.

Carlyle's earnings are in line with peer Blackstone Group , which last week reported a 60% year-on-year rise in its fourth quarter distributable earnings. Rival Apollo Global Management Inc posted a smaller-than-expected 30% drop in fourth-quarter distributable earnings on Wednesday.

Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle said its corporate private equity, real estate and natural resources funds rose 11%, 3%, and 3%, respectively, in the fourth quarter. Its credit funds grew 7%.

During the quarter, Carlyle divested its 50% stake in streetwear fashion brand Supreme to VF Corporation as part of a $2.1 billion deal in November. That and other asset sales resulted in a surge in investment income and a net income of $518.8 million under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Carlyle's total asset under management reached $246 billion in the fourth quarter, up 7% from the prior quarter, with $76 billion of unspent capital. It declared a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share. (Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes)