Earnings wrap: Acadia, First Acceptance

Behavioral health provider sees big patient, margin gains; auto insurer reverses '11 loss

Acadia Healthcare executives said they posted a third-quarter profit of $6.5 million, more than double their year-ago number. Per diluted share, earnings were 16 cents, in line with what analysts had expected.

Adjusting for transaction expenses in both periods, profits from continuing operations at the Franklin-based company rose to $7.1 million from $5.8 million a year ago. Revenues climbed to $103 million from $60.7 million, with same-facility revenues climbing 8.3 percent on the back of higher patient counts. That drove up EBITDA margins by more than two points to 21.4 percent.

"We expect our continuing cash flow, combined with both our cash and cash equivalents of $11.7 million and our availability under our revolving credit facility of approximately $75 million at the end of the third quarter of 2012, to support the ongoing implementation of our organic growth and acquisition strategies," said Chairman and CEO Joey Jacobs.

Jacobs also raised Acadia's full-year profit outlook a bit to a range of 65 cents to 66 cents. But Avondale Partners analyst Kevin Campbell pointed out late Tuesday that those numbers imply a weaker-than-expected Q4 profit of 18 cents to 19 cents.

"We remain buyers of shares, however, as the story appears firmly on track," Campbell wrote in a short note to clients.

Shares of Acadia (Ticker: ACHC) rose almost 8 percent Tuesday before the earnings were released. They've now risen more than 120 percent in 2012.

Auto insurer First Acceptance earned $3.3 million in the third quarter, reversing a loss of $3.7 million a year ago, as the company's top line showed continued growth and loss trends eased a bit.

Premium revenues rose 15 percent to $46.4 million, and a $3.2 million gain on investments also padded the Green Hills-based company's numbers. Also helping profits was a drop in the company's expense ratio. First Acceptance's combined ratio, which measures losses and costs as a ratio of revenues, fell to 99.9 percent from almost 110 percent a year ago and 113 percent in the first half of 2012.

The number of policies in force fell slightly during the quarter to almost 149,000 but was still up almost 6 percent from last year.

Shares of First Acceptance (Ticker: FAC) closed Tuesday trading at $1.23. Year to date, they're down about 10 percent.