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KKR, the US private equity group, posted a rise in earnings for the fourth quarter thanks to large exits, including the sale of its remaining stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Earnings also benefited from growth in its private equity portfolio, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The group’s economic net income (ENI), a measure of profit that includes unrealised gains on investments, was $339.2m compared with $70.5m a year earlier.

“We performed well in 2016 and progressed across our capital raising, investment performance, monetization and strategic initiatives,” co-chairmen and co-chief executive officers Henry Kravis and George Roberts said in a statement.

“We generated $1.5bn of after-tax distributable earnings for the year and our fee paying assets under management grew 11 per cent.”

“Operating fundamentals across the firm remain strong, and we are encouraged by our momentum,” they added.

KKR’s earnings saw a boost thanks to large sales in the fourth quarter, including the sale of its remaining stake in Walgreens Boots for $1.8bn. It also sold SMCP Group, the French luxury retailer, to Shandong Ruyi Technology Group.

Distributable earnings, which cover fees earned from realising investments, grew $389.9m in the last three months of the year, compared to $168.6m a year earlier.

The company’s private equity portfolio grew by 3.4 per cent during the quarter, compared with a 3.3 per cent rise in the S&P 500 index.

The company also said it will pay a dividend of 16 cents a share on March 7 as it announced it plans to increase its fixed dividend to 17 cents a share from the first three months of the year.

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