HCA expects third-quarter profit below Street estimates

Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:27am EDT

(Reuters) - HCA Holdings Inc (HCA.N), the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States, estimated third-quarter results below analysts' estimates, sending its shares down 4 percent.

The company expects net income of about $360 million, or 78 cents per share for the quarter ended September 30. Excluding items, it expects 77 cents per share.

Analyst on average were expecting earnings of 80 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which operates 163 hospitals, reported a profit of $61 million in the same quarter last year. That included pretax losses on retirement of debt of $406 million.

HCA estimates revenue to rise 11 percent to $8.06 billion. Analysts expect revenue of $8.89 billion.

The company was probed by the U.S. Department of Justice in August for its billing practices.

Shares of HCA fell to a low of $30.64 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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