Express Scripts Misses Profit Estimate as Forecast Cut

Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX), a pharmacy benefit manager that handles more than 1 billion prescriptions a year, reported first-quarter earnings that missed its expectation on cold weather and fewer Obamacare enrollees. The company cut its 2014 forecast.

Net income fell to $328.3 million, or 42 cents a share, from $373 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier, the St. Louis, Missouri-based company said in a statement. Profit excluding one-time items of 99 cents a share missed the $1.01 average of 24 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The earnings were lower than forecast because of a decrease in prescription drug volume during the quarter’s severe winter weather, later-than-expected enrollment in public health-care exchanges and fewer new patients, the company said. It reduced its 2014 earnings forecast to $4.82 to $4.94 a share, excluding one-time items, from $4.88 to $5.00 a share.

Express Scripts declined 4.8 percent to $67.61 in extended trading at 4:36 p.m. New York time after closing at $71.01. The shares have gained 21 percent in the past 12 months.

The company manages drug benefits for insurers, employers and government health plans and sell medicines through its mail-order pharmacy, servicing as a middlemen between patients and drugmakers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reg Gale at Andrew Pollack

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