Last Thursday, asset management firm Lazard reported a high profit surge in M&A, releasing a fourth-quarter earnings report that went beyond analysts’ expectations. Business Bigwigs wrote earlier in 2014 that Lazard was one of the many stocks to watch due to the company’s 52-week high of $50.61 for shares. Additionally, another reason to keep an eye our for this boutique investment bank is that Goldman Sachs raised its price target on Lazard shares from $57 to $60 during the same timeframe.
The profit surge, adjusted for profit increases, rose 57% to $172.4 million when compared to the same time in 2013. This is an increase to $1.29 a share, up from the $1.06 predicted by financial experts. This follows a recent boom in mergers and acquisitions within the last 12 months, aiding the investment bank in its final quarter of the year. Reporting an operating revenue of over $645 million, that amount is 4% higher than the same period last year, nearly $30 million more than the experts had predicted.
However, despite Lazard’s larger than expected revenue, rising more than 17% from its mergers and acquisitions rising to above $297 million, its asset management business declined 3% in the fourth quarter. Despite this slight decline, Lazard Chairman and Chief Executive Kenneth Jacobs stated that he believes any volatility in the market will not cause any more issues for Lazard.
Believing that “factors that underpin an M&A cycle are in place,” he trusts in the confidence of Lazard’s corporate managers, as well as the availability of financing.
“The recent volatility probably rocks confidence a little bit,” Mr. Jacobs said, “but as long as you remain constructive on the macro environment, you should be constructive on the M.&A. environment.”