HCA issues first-quarter estimates, shares fall

Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:02pm EDT

(Reuters) - HCA Holdings Inc (HCA.N), the largest U.S. for-profit hospital operator, on Monday announced a preliminary first-quarter revenue estimate that was below Wall Street expectations and its shares fell nearly 5 percent.

The company, citing a slowdown in the rate of growth in admissions and weakness in outpatient volumes in the second half of the quarter, said it expects to report revenue of about $8.4 billion. Analysts on average were looking for revenue of $8.7 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, HCA reaffirmed its full-year forecasts and still expects to earn $3.00 to $3.30 per share, excluding items, with revenue of $33.5 billion to $34.5 billion.

Same facility admissions for the quarter barely increased 0.1 percent, HCA said.

Volume growth trends in the first quarter declined across all payor classes with managed care/commercial same facility equivalent admissions down about 4.6 percent compared to an increase of 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2012, the company said.

HCA said first-quarter results would include five cents per share in charges for the sales of facilities and retirement of debt. It said favorable Medicare adjustments would increase earnings by 22 cents per share.

Analysts are estimating first-quarter earnings, excluding special items, of 90 cents per share. The company said it expects to issue its first-quarter results on or about May 2.

HCA shares fell to $35 in extended trading from their New York Stock Exchange close of $36.72. They had fallen 4.2 percent during regular trading.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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