HCA Holdings shares rise on 4Q results, dividend

Friday, February 3, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 5

NEW YORK (AP) - Shares of hospital chain HCA Holdings Inc. rose Friday after the company said its fourth-quarter net income soared from a year earlier and it announced plans to pay a special dividend.

HCA also said that its core performance measurements like patient volume and admissions remained strong. The stock gained 5.8 percent, or $1.53, to reach $27.99 in afternoon trading.

The company earned $1.94 billion, or $4.25 per share, compared with $283 million, or 65 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Results for the most recent quarter include a pretax gain of $3.13 per share on the acquisition of a controlling stake in an investment and pretax gains on facility sales of 18 cents per share. Stripping out those two items, earnings per share were 94 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $8.43 billion from $7.74 billion a year earlier. HCA said its revenue was mostly driven by higher patient admissions. Those results were boosted even further by its acquisition of a 40 percent stake in a joint venture from its former partner, The Colorado Health Foundation, in October. HCA agreed not to close any of the hospitals in the next five years as part of that deal.

Analysts expected a profit of 77 cents per share on revenue of $8.31 billion, according to FactSet.

For all of 2011, the company earned $2.47 billion, or $4.97 per share, compared with $1.21 billion, or $2.76 per share, in 2010. Excluding all one-time items, HCA earned $2.85 per share in 2011.

Revenue rose to $32.51 billion from $30.68 billion in 2010.

Looking ahead to 2012, the company expects adjusted net income of between $3.35 per share and $3.55 per share for the year. Analysts predict $3.46.

Also Monday, HCA said its board approved a special cash dividend of $2 per share to be paid to on Feb. 29 to shareholders of record as of Feb 16.

HCA is based in Nashville.