Oaktree Capital Group Posts Strong Q2 Growth

By Markets Fool.com

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Shareholders of Oaktree Capital Group (NYSE: OAK) haven't enjoyed a great 2016 so far. The investment management company's stock returns have been in negative territory for much of the year. However, Oaktree announced its second-quarter financial results before the market opened on Thursday. Did those results make a difference? Here are the highlights.

Oaktree results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q2 2016 Actuals

Q2 2015 Actuals

Growth (YOY)

Total segment revenue

$332.8 million

$274.7 million

21.2%

Adjusted net income

$142.6 million

$85.3 million

67.2%

Adjusted net income per Class A unit

$0.79

$0.44

79.5%

YOY = year over year. Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

What happened with Oaktree this quarter

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The numbers don't lie. Oaktree's performance improved versus the prior-year period across the board and topped the expectations of many investors. Examining the details of the company's second-quarter results showed further strength.

Distributable earnings increased to $127.5 million, a 14.8% jump from the same period last year. Oaktree attributed this improvement tohigher incentive income and fee-related earnings.

Oaktree's internal metric, economic net income (ENI), also reflected large increases from the prior year. ENImeasures incentive income based on the market values of the funds' holdings. Oaktree uses ENI to allow for more meaningfulcomparisons with other alternative asset managers that use a similar metric. For the second quarter of 2016, the company reported ENI of $166.2 million, or $0.96 per Class A unit. That's up from $17.6 million, or a loss of $0.02 per Class A unit, recorded in the same quarter last year.

There was one negative figure among all the positives for Oaktree. Assets under management in the quarter fell 5% to $98.1 billion, from $103.1 billion in the second quarter of 2015. However, this figure did reflect an uptick from the $96.9 billion under management at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

Oaktree reported $22.8 billion of uncalled capital commitments, sometimes referred to as "dry powder." That reflects a record-high level. Of those commitments, $13.1 billion were "shadow" assets under management (i.e., assets not yet generating management fees).

What management had to say

In response to his company's second-quarter results, Oaktree CEOJay Wintrobsaid:

Despite some significant market volatility at quarter-end following the Brexit vote, we delivered positive performance across virtually all of our investment strategies. Low interest rates, ample liquidity and a search for yield continue to sustain the credit markets and buoy equity markets, creating a somewhat challenging investment environment for our counter-cyclical investment strategies. However, with our record level of dry powder, experience in navigating market cycles and patient, opportunistic approach to deployment, we are well positioned to continue to serve our clients' needs.

Looking forward

Several positive factors could help Oaktree going into the rest of 2016. For example, a rebound in energy benefits Oaktree, especially after the company had to take significant impairment charges in the first quarter related to somecollateralized loan obligations.

As Wintrob mentioned in his comments, low interest rates make Oaktree's countercyclical investing strategy more challenging. Although the Federal Reserve didn't hike interest rates this week, its comments indicated that a rate increase could come later this year.

Oaktree's shares traded a little lower in the first hours after the company announced its results. This probably wasn't a reaction to the second-quarter results but could reflect the uncertainty lingering from the Fed's latest announcement. Long-term investors don't have to fret over how the Federal Reserve's actions affect Oaktree. Instead, they can focus more on the company's track record and execution in maximizing its performance for future returns.

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Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Oaktree Capital. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.