(Reuters) - Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP (CG.O) said on Wednesday it returned to profitability in the second quarter versus a year ago, but less strongly than expected, as its funds appreciated in value.
Second-quarter economic net income (ENI), a closely watched earnings metric that takes into account the market value of an alternative asset manager's funds, jumped to profit of $156 million from a $57 million loss a year ago.
This translated into a second-quarter post-tax ENI per adjusted share of 39 cents, compared with an average estimate of 56 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.
The rise in ENI was primarily driven by a 3 percent rise in the value of its funds that generate carried interest - the slice of investment profits it receives. In the second quarter of 2012 it recorded a 2 percent depreciation.
Pretax distributable earnings, which show how much cash is available to pay dividends, was $163 million compared with $116 million a year ago, as Carlyle took advantage of strong equity markets to exit more investments.
Asset sales in the second quarter included stakes in Hertz Global Holdings Inc (HTZ.N), Nielsen Holdings NV (NLSN.N), SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc (SSNC.O) and Cobalt International Energy Inc (CIE.N) at valuations of between two and five times their original investment.
Total assets under management were $180.4 billion at the end of June, up from $176.3 billion at the end of March. Carlyle said it raised $6.9 billion in new capital from investors during the quarter.
Carlyle said it had available capital for deals, or so-called "dry powder," of $49 billion at the end of the quarter, including $20.1 billion in private equity and $9.2 billion in energy and real estate.
Carlyle declared a second-quarter dividend of 16 cents per share, in line with its distribution policy.
Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe