Earnings wrap: Emdeon, Capella, Clarcor

Volumes strong at health care intermediary and hospital chain; oil and gas unit a bright spot for filter maker

Health care transaction intermediary Emdeon narrowed its fourth-quarter losses to $10 million from $70 million the year before, when its sale to private-equity giant Blackstone caused an $80 million spike in one-time costs. For the quarter, the company’s adjusted EBITDA dipped 2 percent to $78.7 million.

Sales rose almost 6 percent during the quarter to $301 million.

“We saw volumes steadily improve across Emdeon’s entire business during the second half of 2012, and our pharmacy business and payment integrity solutions continued to perform very well,” said CEO George Lazenby. “We are excited about continuing to execute on our growth strategy in 2013.”

Taking out sale-related costs, operating income for the quarter rose 12 percent to $28.9 million. But higher interest costs ate up that improvement and then some.

Hospital operator Capella Healthcare posted a net loss of $12 million during the last three months of 2012, an improvement from a loss of $14.4 million during the same period the year before. The company’s continuing operations lost $9.2 million, a little more than half of its late-2011 number.

Revenues at Franklin-based Capella climbed to $183 million from $173 million. Unlike some of its peers, Capella posted solid growth in patient volume. Same-facility admissions climbed 2.3 percent versus late 2011 while revenues per admission rose 3.6 percent. The quarter’s adjusted EBITDA from hospitals Capella has owned for more than a year dipped slightly to $25.8 million.

Clarcor posted a fiscal first-quarter profit of $23.5 million, the same number as last year. Per diluted share, earnings came in at 47 cents, a penny above both last year’s number and analysts’ consensus estimate.

Sales at Franklin-based Clarcor fell slightly from a year ago to $256 million. Operating margins ticked down to 13.2 percent, with a fall at the company’s industrial and environmental filtration unit’s margin being offset by an improvement at its packaging division.

“Our sales growth was relatively flat in the first quarter but was in-line with our internal expectations due in part to the challenging comparable in our U.S. heavy-duty filtration aftermarket growth in last year’s first quarter,” said Chairman, President and CEO Chris Conway. “Despite headwinds from economic uncertainty in many of our markets, we were able to grow our global oil and gas business by approximately 10 percent in the first quarter, and we believe this growth will be sustained as we proceed through the year.”

Shares of Clarcor (Ticker: CLC) were down more than 1 percent to about $53 in afternoon trading. They’ve risen about 10 percent so far in 2013.