UBS Trims Sierra Health Services Estimates

Analyst William McKeever cites Sierra's unsuccessful bid to expand a contract with the Departmet of Defense

UBS Financial lowered its estimates on Sierra Health Services (SIE ).

Analyst William McKeever says it's now likely Sierra Health will exit the government's TRICARE health services program in Sept. 2004 as it did not succeed in winning the new North region TRICARE contract from the Department of Defense.

McKeever estimates Sierra's current TRICARE business generates about 30 cents earnings per share on an annual run-rate basis. He believes Sierra is likely to file a protest of the decision in the North region, however, he says most protests have proven unsuccessful.

McKeever sees $2.60 2003 earnings per share, and cut the $2.90 2004 estimate to $2.80. He rates the shares as neutral, and has a $24 target.

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