Carlyle Group Inc posted a lower-than-expected 41% year-on-year rise in first-quarter distributable earnings on Thursday, as market volatility prevented the private equity firm from cashing out on assets as much as some analysts expected.

Distributable earnings, which represents cash available to pay shareholder dividends, rose to $303 million from $214.9 million a year earlier. This translated to after-tax distributable earnings per share of 74 cents, which missed the average analyst estimate of $1.01 per share, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.

Chief Executive Kewsong Lee said in an interview that the market volatility fueled by Russia's war in Ukraine and concerns about inflation slowed down dealmaking activity that Carlyle relies on to cash out on assets and generate profits.

"Things get pushed out. But again, I focus on the bigger picture. A lot of deals were signed up for us. They just haven't closed," Lee said.

Carlyle said its net accrued performance revenues, representing investment profits that have not been realized, reached a record $4.3 billion, up 34% from $3.2 billion a year earlier.

That growth was driven by appreciation of its assets in natural resources, energy, U.S. real estate, and some buyout funds, the Washington, D.C.-based firm said.

During the quarter, Carlyle spent $10.9 billion for new acquisitions across its portfolio and generated $6.4 billion from asset sales. Its fee-related earnings (FRE) rose to a record $183 million, up 42% from $129 million last year.

"The focus on FRE, really accelerating it and growing it is really paying off," Lee said.

Carlyle said its private equity funds rose by 3%; real estate funds grew by 10%; and infrastructure and natural resources funds appreciated by 19%. Blackstone Inc said last week its real estate opportunistic funds rose by 10.3%, while its private equity portfolio gained 2.8%.

Carlyle's total asset management rose 8% to $325 billion during the quarter, mainly due to its acquisition of the $15 billion portfolio of credit manager CBAM Partners, strong fundraising activity and fund appreciation. Unspent capital stood at $85 billion.

Carlyle declared a quarterly dividend of $0.325 per share, up from $0.25 posted last year.

(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Kim Coghill)