Shares of rural hospital operator LifePoint Hospitals fell more than 10 percent Friday after the company reported disappointing third-quarter financial results.
In its earnings report issued prior to that conference call, Brentwood-based LifePoint said quarterly earnings fell 51 percent from a year ago as a result of fewer-than-expected admissions and unforeseen operational costs. Revenue for the quarter reached $820 million, up 11 percent from the same period last year. Income, however, plunged 51 percent to $19.2 million compared to $38.9 million the year before. Per diluted share, that came to 39 cents, well below the 76 cents analysts had been looking for.
Not surprisingly, investors pushed down shares of LifePoint (Ticker: LPNT) in a big way. After closing near $40 Thursday, they opened trading today around $38 and have steadily given up ground since. At about 12:25 p.m., they were off 10.7 percent at $35.76.
As a result of the Q3 miss, LifePoint has lowered its full-year earnings estimate to between $2.97 and $3.10 per share from its previous forecast of $3.45 to $3.60 per share.
"This was a challenging quarter for LifePoint," said Chairman and CEO Bill Carpenter in the earnings statement. "Our financial results were adversely affected by specific costs associated with investments we made that are critical to future growth and by operational changes in our business."
Specifically, Carpenter and his team said there were $12.1 million in "significant items." Those are:
- $6.2 million of costs related to the purchase of Marquette General Health System in Michigan
- $2.6 million of extra spending for a prior-period repayment obligation
- $1.8 million in retention and severance expenses from centralizing various operations
- $1.5 million in lost revenues, net of operating costs, associated with Hurricane Isaac
LifePoint officials made it clear in today’s conference call that extra attention will be paid to cutting corporate costs in the fourth quarter, as one response to these less-than-stellar numbers. In addition to building cash reserves for possible repayment obligations not yet finalized — this resulting from Affordable Care Act legislation — officials said more time was needed to reap the financial reward from acquisitions made earlier in the year.
Officials said there were no inherent problems with their 2012 acquisitions. They said the assimilation process has taken longer than expected.