Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP said on Wednesday it returned to profitability in the second quarter versus a year ago as its funds swung from depreciating to appreciating in value.

Second-quarter economic net income, 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 was primarily driven by a 3 percent rise in the value of its funds that generate carried interest - the slice of investment profits it is entitled to. In the second quarter of 2012 it recorded a 2 percent depreciation.

Pretax distributable earnings, which shows how much cash is available to pay dividends, was $163 million compared with $116 million a year ago.

Carlyle declared a second-quarter dividend of 16 cents per share, in line with its distribution policy.

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.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)