Ares Management LP has elected to change its tax classification to a C-Corporation from a partnership, effective March 1, making it the first publicly traded alternative asset manager to announce a change in corporate tax status following the tax reform.
The move "will simplify our structure, broaden our potential investor base, improve our liquidity and trading volume and provide a more attractive currency for strategic acquisitions," Ares COO and CFO Michael McFerran said in a statement. In connection with the change, Ares will begin paying a steady, quarterly dividend for each calendar year.
Ares declared a distribution of 40 cents per common unit for the five months ended Feb. 28, inclusive of 25 cents per common unit for the fourth quarter of 2017 and 15 cents per common unit for the first two months of the first quarter. The distribution is payable Feb. 28 to common unitholders of record as of Feb. 26. The company previously made a quarterly distribution of 41 cents per common unit.
For March, the first month that Ares is taxed as a corporation, Ares declared a dividend of 9.33 cents per common share. The dividend is payable April 30 to holders of record as of April 16.
For the fourth quarter of 2017, Ares reported economic net income of $132.4 million, up from $113.8 million in the prior-year quarter. After-tax economic net income per common unit increased year over year to 48 cents from 39 cents.
For full year 2017, economic net income increased year over year to $467.7 million from $357.0 million. After-tax economic net income per common unit increased year over year to $1.74 from $1.22.