Lazard Profit Beats Estimates as Merger-Advisory Fees Climb

Lazard Ltd., the largest independent merger-advisory firm, posted fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as revenue from that business increased.

Net income more than tripled to $172.4 million, or $1.29 a share, from $53.2 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier, the Bermuda-based company said in a statement Thursday. Twelve analysts surveyed by Bloomberg estimated $1.06 a share adjusted for one-time items.

Lazard, which derives about half its business from advising on mergers and restructurings, said revenue for the unit rose 14 percent in the fourth quarter to $359.4 million. The company ranked seventh among merger advisers by total deal value last year, as global M&A climbed to $3.34 trillion, the highest amount since the financial crisis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“They actually delivered not only strong growth in M&A fees, but better growth than any of the bulge brackets,” Steven Chubak, an analyst with Nomura Holdings Inc., said in an interview before the results were released, referring to the first three quarters of last year. Lazard’s pipeline of deals for the first quarter of 2015 is also looking strong, he said.

Shares of the company fell 2.3 percent this year through yesterday.

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