UPDATE 1-Service Corp Q4 results beat Street

Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:21pm EST

* Q4 adj shr from cont ops $0.14 vs est $0.11

* Q4 revenue $531.8 mln vs est $498.7 mln

* Sees FY10 adj shr from cont ops $0.48-$0.56

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Funeral-home operator Service Corp International (SCI.N) posted quarterly results that beat analysts' expectations, helped by strong pre-need cemetery sales and cost cuts.

The company, which also operates a cemetery business, earned $34.3 million, or 13 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $9.5 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, it earned 14 cents a share.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $531.8 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 11 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $498.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company improved its profit margins, as it continued to contain field operating costs during the quarter, Chief Executive Tom Ryan said in a statement.

Service Corp also forecast an adjusted profit of 48 cents to 56 cents a share from continuing operations for fiscal 2010, while analysts were looking for earnings of 50 cents a share.

Houston-based Service Corp's shares closed at $8.19 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Renju Jose in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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