AMERICA SERVICE GROUP PER-SHARE NET UP 10%

[Wed 6:30 p.m. July 19, 2000]

By DAVID A. FOX

America Service Group Inc. (ASGR) said Wednesday afternoon that its per-share earnings in the second quarter increased 10%, a bit more than analysts had forecast.

The Nashville-based provider of health-care services to inmates earned $1.8 million, or 33 cents a share, compared to a gain of 30 cents a share, before acquisition charges, in the year-ago period. Two analysts surveyed by Zacks had estimated a per-share gain of 32 cents. Revenue rose 24% to $89.4 million.

Healthcare expenses as a percentage of revenue edged higher to 90.5% from 90.4%.

America Service Group said that it has almost closed on a new $65 million credit facility led by Bank of America. Also, it said that Michael Catalano, the company's president and chief executive, has been named chairman to fill the seat left open by the death of Scott Mercy in May.

America Service Group shares settled Wednesday at $19. Their 52-week range is $11.75-$20.50.