Lazard

(LAZ) - Get Report

said Tuesday that first-quarter profits rose 67.6% from a year ago, reflecting a 59% increase in investment banking advisory fees. The results beatanalyst's estimates.

In the quarter, Lazard earned $52.5 million, or 51 cents a share, compared with $31.3 million, or 31 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Total net revenue was $351.1 million, up 32% in the quarter.

Analysts as surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for earnings of 47 cents a share, based on sales of $359.8 million.

Unlike other investment banks with record earnings this quarter, including

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

,

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

, and

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

, Lazard doesn't have a trading division. Lazard is most known for merger and acquisition advice, fees from which were 87.3% of the investment banking revenue and 55.2% of the total revenue at Lazard this quarter. During the quarter, the company advised a number of large transactions, including

MCI's

$8.8 billion merger with Verizon, Maytag's $2.7 billion to Whirlpool, and Bon-Ton's $1.1 billion acquisition of the Northern Department Store Group of Saks.

Deals that are still pending in Lazard's pipeline include advising Cerberus on its $14 billion acquisitions of GMAC; KeySpan's $11.8 billion sale to National Grid; and Fisher Scientific's $12.8 billion merger with Thermo Electronic.

Revenue in Lazard's other main division, the asset management group, increased 16% to $124.4 million during the quarter, compared to $106.9 million lastyear. Assets under management grew to $95.1 billion from $88.2 billion at the end of last year.

"The positive momentum across the firm continues, reflecting the investments we have made. Both our financial advisory and asset management businessesproduced record first-quarter revenue," said Bruce Wasserstein, the CEO. "These excellent results, once again, demonstrate the depth and breadth of our clientrelationships. The global reach and scale of the Lazard independent advice model continues to drive strong performance, enhancing shareholder value."

The company has been public for just about a year, after a high profile management battle leading up to the initial public offering. Shares in Lazard havemore than doubled since the company's IPO, and closed Monday at $45.70.