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Fortress Earnings Double

The firm posts a strong 2006 profit.

The last year has been very very good to




The New York-based hedge fund, whose initial public offering surged in its February debut, said earnings for the year ended Dec. 31 more than doubled from a year earlier.

Fortress posted a 2006 profit of $442.9 million, or $1.21 per share, up from the year-earlier $193 million, or 52 cents a share. The company revealed the numbers in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shares of the alternative investment fund, which also has offices in Dallas, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Toronto, are up about 3.5% since the open today and have increased nearly 75% since its initial public offering.

Calls to Chairman and CEO Wesley Edens were directed to a spokeswoman who was unavailable for comment. The company is planning an earnings call on May 15 to discuss forthcoming first-quarter numbers.

Fortress' prosperous results were credited to growth in its investment portfolio and fees from its asset management business, according to the filing. It reported assets under management of about $35 billion. The manager has a market capitalization of $12.75 billion.

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The hedge fund is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 46.6, compared with a P/E ratio of 10.1 for

Goldman Sachs

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, which has a market capitalization of around $87 billion. Another asset management firm,


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, has a P/E of 23.3.

Hedge fund managers and private equity firms are keen to hit the public markets, if Fortress' numbers are representative of what awaits.

The Blackstone Group has its own IPO in the works, and heavyweight shops such as Citadel, Carlyle Group and Apollo Management are said to have at least considered an IPO.