Aetna backs its 2013 profit, revenue forecast

Mon Jan 7, 2013 6:09pm EST

(Reuters) - Aetna Inc (AET.N) on Monday reaffirmed its profit and revenue outlook for 2013 and said as of last week it had received 17 of the 21 state approvals needed for its planned acquisition of smaller rival Coventry Health Care Inc CVH.N.

Aetna said it continues to expect full-year 2013 operating earnings of at least $5.40 a share, up from about $5.10 in 2012, on a 9 percent increase in revenue, reiterating the forecast it gave in mid-December.

Analysts on average are expecting Aetna to earn $5.52 per share in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Full-year 2012 revenue is projected at about $35.5 billion, as the nation's third-largest health insurer's medical plans add more members. The company gave its forecast ahead of a presentation on Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Aetna plans to buy Coventry for $5.6 billion.

(Reporting By Susan Kelly in Chicago; Editing by Gary Hill and Carol Bishopric)

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