October 29, 2009 / 12:30 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-HealthSpring Q3 beats market, ups FY profit view

* Q3 EPS $0.77 vs est $0.63

* Q3 rev up 25 pct to $659.8 mln vs est. $658.2 mln

* Raises FY09 EPS to $2.30-$2.40 from $2.10-$2.25

* Shares up 22 percent (Recasts; Adds analysts’ estimates, updates share movement)

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Managed care company HealthSpring Inc HS.N posted a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, driven by a surge in premium revenue, and raised its full-year earnings forecast, sending its shares up as much as 22 percent.

For the third quarter, the company posted a net profit of $42.3 million, or 77 cents a share, compared with $29.4 million, or 53 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 63 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $658.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Premium revenue, which makes up nearly the whole of the total revenue, rose 26 percent to $649.8 million, while total revenue came in at $659.8 million.

“Performance in the quarter was driven by improvement in inpatient admissions in most of our markets that more than offset any higher trends we continue to experience in outpatient and professional costs,” HealthSpring CEO Herb Fritch said in a statement.

For the full year, HealthSpring now expects to earn between $2.30 to $2.40 a share, up from its prior view of between $2.10 to $2.25 a share.

For the full year, the company estimates its total revenue to be at the top end of its previous revenue view of between $2.60 billion and $2.65 billion.

Shares of the company were up 16 percent at $14.30 Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched a high of $15 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Shailesh Kuber in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Unnikrishnan Nair)

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