3 Min Read
* Q3 loss 45 cents/shr vs est loss 31/shr
* To close eight more centers
* Not to open new stores in near future
* To take charge of $4.3 mln in Q4
* Shares fall 7 pct (Adds details, analyst comments; updates stock movement)
BANGALORE, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Laser vision-correction provider LCA-Vision Inc LCAV.O posted a tenth straight quarterly loss and said it will shut down eight underperforming centers as it continues to cut cost to ride out the industry slowdown.
The company's shares, which have gained around 20 percent since its second-quarter loss, were trading down 4 percent at $5.95 Tuesday afternoon on Nasdaq. They touched a low of $5.78 earlier in the day.
The company, which operates under the Lasik Plus brand, said it will be able to fund its business beyond 2012 with its ongoing cost-cutting measures if it performs at least 52,000 procedures annually.
The company has done 45,829 procedures so far this year.
Maxim Group LLC analyst Anthony Vendetti said although the company should be able to ride out the softness in volumes with the ongoing cost cutting measure at place, the company could close more centers in the future.
"Despite signs of stabilization in the business over the last several quarters, it is clear that procedure volume continues to be impacted by broader macroeconomic headwinds and visibility remains low," William Blair & Co analyst Ryan Daniels said.
Daniels, who maintained his "market perform" rating on the stock, said as LASIK is a $3,000 or more discretionary purchase, it will be difficult for the company to see a real turnaround until U.S. consumer spending fully rebounds.
LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a vision correction procedure which cuts a flap in the eye and uses a laser to reshape the cornea.
The Cincinnati, Ohio-based company, which closed 12 vision centers in 2009, said it will close centers in four more markets and incur related charge of $4.3 million in the fourth quarter.
Seven of the centres will be closed in mid-December, and the eighth is planned for April 2011 when the center's lease expires.
The company will also consolidate center operations in four markets.
"We also are making tangible progress in activities to diversify into related eye health businesses," LCA-Vision chief financial officer Michael Celebrezze added.
The company is currently rolling out a program to sell eye drops throughout its network, and expects to generate "modest revenue" in the coming quarters.
For the third quarter, the company posted a loss of $8.4 million, or 45 cents a share, while analysts, on average, had expected a loss of 31 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Procedure volumes declined about 25 percent to 11,497, the lowest since the second quarter of 2009.
Revenue fell to $20.3 million from $27.6 million, compared with analyst estimates of $21.1 million. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Krishnakali Sengupta in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan and Don Sebastian)