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Lazard 4Q loss deepens, but revenue grows

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lazard Ltd. loss deepened in the fourth quarter on expenses related to a cost-cutting plan, but the investment bank earned more fees for advising companies on acquisitions and other deals and in its asset management business.

The company said that it was in a good position to grow if the global economy healed, which could trigger more deal-making.

Lazard said Thursday that it lost $5.4 million, or 5 cents per share, in the October-December period. That compares with losing $4.8 million, or 4 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, such as a $103 million charge for severance and other efforts by the bank to cut its costs, the company said it earned 61 cents per share. That's up from a penny per share a year ago. Analysts were expecting lower net income of 33 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue grew 23 percent, to $580.9 million from $473.1 million, beating Wall Street's $478.8 million prediction.

Lazard said revenue from advising companies on mergers, acquisitions, capital raising, and other transactions rose 40 percent from a year ago, to $233.5 million. During the quarter Lazard was involved with deals including car rental company Hertz's $2.3 billion purchase of Dollar Thrifty and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway's pending offer to buy Oriental Trading Co.

Revenue in Lazard's asset management business rose 20 percent to $245.2 million.

Shares gained $1.02, or 2.8 percent, to $37.70 in afternoon trading.