Lazard profits surge in third quarter

Lazard, the investment bank, beat expectations for third-quarter profits as its fund management operation outperformed.

Profit rose 71 per cent during the three months, with strong gains in fees from merger and strategic advisory assignments also helping to boost the bottom line, cushioning the company from a sharp drop-off in revenue from restructuring activities.

Lazard is known for shepherding clients such as Qwest Communications International, Honeywell International and Continental Airlines through mergers and other strategic changes and has benefited from a renewed signs of life in the moribund market for mergers and acquisitions.

Revenue from advising on deals increased by 2 per cent to $160.7m (£102m), with the firm handling 15 completed mergers. Another 23 were announced in the quarter but not completed. But after record fees last year, a decline in corporate defaults hit results from the company's restructuring division. Revenue in that business fell by 45 per cent.

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