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Blackstone bulks up on real estate

By Konrad Putzier

Asset management behemoth Blackstone had the second best quarter in its history, and its real estate investments played a big role.

Blackstone’s global real estate assets grew by 26 percent year-over-year in dollar volume to a staggering $80.41 billion, leading to an economic income of $489 million in the second quarter.

STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN
STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN

Blackstone’s total assets — including debt, private equity and securities — grew at a slower pace (21 percent year-over-year) to $279 billion, meaning real estate now takes up a bigger share of the company’s balance sheet.

While Blackstone is still active in U.S. real estate and recently bought Midtown’s Park Avenue Tower for $750 million, its strategy appears to focus heavily on Asia and Europe.

Almost half of the $11.7 billion Blackstone invested in real estate over the past year went to Asia and Europe, and more is to follow.

Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman told investors in a conference call that the company currently has 34 percent of its European real estate fund and 28 percent of its Asian real estate fund committed, meaning further investments will likely follow until both funds reach their targets.

He added that the Asian fund has already raised $4.4 billion of its target $5 billion.

“Blackstone’s second quarter results marked one of our best ever in terms of both ENI and distributable earnings,” Schwarzman said in a press release.

“As more of our assets under management have seasoned, we’ve been increasingly active in harvesting the value we’ve created over several years. At the same time, ENI (Entire Net Income), which reflects our current value creation, remains at record levels, reaching $4.3 billion for the past twelve months.”

Blackstone announced it would pay its shareholders a dividend of $0.55 per common unit.

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