BlackRock 4Q Beats as Fees Grow, Declares 12% Dividend Increase

By FOXBusiness

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) reported a fourth-quarter beat on both the top and bottom lines on Thursday as fees continued to grow and assets under management climbed to a record high.

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The company’s board also declared a 12% quarterly dividend increase to $1.68 and an expansion of 7.5 million shares to an earlier buyback program.

"We remain committed to returning cash to our shareholders," BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in a statement.

During the fourth quarter, BlackRock booked net income of $690 million, or $3.93 a share, up 24% from $555 million, or $3.05.

Excluding one-time items, it earned $3.96, topping average analyst estimates of $3.73 in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three-month period climbed 14% to $2.54 billion from $2.23 billion a year ago, led by stronger base and higher performance fees. The results topped the Street’s view of $2.49 billion. Assets under management grew 8% to a record $3.79 trillion.

Shares of BlackRock climbed nearly 4% to $230.45 early Thursday.

“BlackRock’s financial performance in 2012 was strong by any measure,” Fink said. “We improved investment performance in key areas and our work with clients was rewarded with $107.7 billion of long-term net new business.”

As the investment manager enters fiscal 2013, Fink said the improving global economy provides a potential for greater market stability.

However he said the current political and regulatory landscape, persistent low rates and high volatility will continue to remain key factors.