HCA Preliminary Adjusted Profit Beats Analysts’ Estimates

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HCA Holdings Inc., the biggest for-profit U.S. hospital chain by patient volume, reported preliminary second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.37 a share, topping analysts’ estimates of $1.33.

The company said revenue rose about 7.2 percent to $9.9 billion, beating estimates of $9.77 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Same-facility hospital admissions increased 4.1 percent. HCA also updated its full-year forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to “near the high-end of its previously issued guidance” of $7.55 billion to $7.85 billion.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month upholding a key part of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, may help fuel more patient traffic for HCA. The Nashville, Tennessee-based company has largely missed out on a surge of newly insured patients because many of its hospitals are in states that haven’t chosen to expand Medicaid coverage under the law.

That may change as states like Tennessee, Florida and Virginia consider expansion now that Obamacare’s future is clearer, according to Jefferies & Co. analyst Brian Tanquilut.

“HCA has not seen much benefit from ‘reform’ versus its peers given its modest exposure to Medicaid states,” Tanquilut wrote in a note to investors.

Adjusted earnings per share exclude a loss on retirement of debt of 18 cents a share and losses on sales of facilities of 1 cent. Net income totaled about $1.18 a share, up from $1.07 a year earlier.

The company’s shares fell 1.2 percent to $92.95 in late trading at 5:22 p.m. New York time after the results were released. They had fallen less than 1 percent to $94.12 at the New York close.

HCA, which owns about 165 hospitals and 115 freestanding surgery centers in the U.S. and the U.K., reports second-quarter earnings on Aug. 5.

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