Nissan North America has begun installing 30 solar-assisted charging stations at its Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant and the company's headquarters in Franklin.
The chargers, which will be operational by July 1, are the latest in the company's string of local investments. Read more about it here.
The historic Franklin Theatre, which will reopen in a few weeks on Main Street, has named Studio Tenn its resident theater company. Two-year-old Studio Tenn, which was founded two years ago, will put on three series of shows between now and next March.
SEE ALSO: Details on the Theatre's planned music shows
Williamson County Commissioner Bob Barnwell isn't dropping the idea of selling the county's publicly owned hospital. And he has the backing now of industry titan HCA, whose legal experts chimed in this week with an opinion that state law would allow county officials to use proceeds from any sale for their general fund. In addition, a company spokeswoman said HCA would consider buying Williamson Medical Center, but county officials are moving quickly to block any prospects of an auction.
But at the same time Barnwell was touting the benefits of free markets, an opposing group of commissioners gathered at the hospital to discuss how they might drive a stake through such a notion. That dagger was revealed Wednesday when members of a tax study committee adopted a resolution opposed to selling the hospital.
The resolution carried the signature of 10 cosponsors.
SEE ALSO: County commissioner raises prospect of selling Williamson Medical from last November
Shares of Community Health Systems fell more than 7 percent Monday morning following the company’s Friday disclosure of a federal investigation into its emergency department processes and procedures.
Although it’s unclear if the investigation relates directly to Tenet Healthcare’s allegations that the company has been defrauding Medicare by admitting patients who require only observation status, Avondale Partners’ Kemp Dolliver predicts CHS’ shares will remain under pressure due to continued “negative news flow” and a possibly long and expensive government investigation.
In a research note this morning, Dolliver lowered his ratings and cut the price targets on shares of both CHS and Tenet. He now rates both stocks as ‘market perform’ and has CHS’ shares at $34, down from $48, and Tenet’s at $7, instead of the previous $9.
“This downgrade does NOT reflect our opinion of the veracity of Tenet Healthcare’s allegations,” wrote Dolliver.
Community this morning announced a revised $6 per share acquisition bid for Tenet, which is doing all it can to avoid a takeover. Dolliver estimates the probability that Tenet and CHS will reach a friendly deal at “nil.”
Separately, Robert W. Baird analyst Whit Mayo reiterated his ‘outperform’ rating on CHS’ shares, nothing that the OIG investigation will likely weigh on CHS’ shares but that the “plausible perceived risk [is] dramatically higher than real risk, fueled by biases and drama.”
CHS’ shares (Ticker: CYH) opened at $27.37 but were recovering in mid-morning, trading at about $29.86 at 10:15 a.m. Monday, down about 6.3 percent from Friday's close. Tenet’s shares (Ticker: THC) were trading near $6.40 at that time, down about 4 percent. CHS’ shares fell to a low of $22.32 on April 11, the day Tenet made public its lawsuit.
Yesterday morning Tenet Healthcare filed a lawsuit against Franklin-based Community Health Systems — which has been pursuing an acquisition of Tenet, despite the company's protests — alleging hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare overbilling.
Following the announcement, the companies' stock prices began to dive — with CHS's (Ticker: CYH) ending the day at $24.89, more than 38 percent below its opening price of $37.45 — and the analysis began. Here's a rundown of some of the interesting things we've read about the suit yesterday and this morning:
• At Gimmie Credit, Vicki Bryan described the suit as an "ugly turn" in Tenet's battle to avoid a takeover and indicated that CHS may now file a counter-claim. Bryan notes that CHS' days in acounts receivable and general and adjusted admission rates appear consistent with others in the industry, which doesn't appear to support Tenet's claims.
"In any case, Tenet has fired off all its cannons now in a last ditch effort to remain independent. If Tenet doesn't prevail, its generals may have just shot themselves," she writes.
• Sheryl Skolnick at CRT Capital writes in a note to investors that her group has "long been concerned by comments we have heard from managed care companies that CYH may not appropriately categorize low-acuity hospital visits as outpatient ‘observation’ days instead of higher-revenue inpatient admissions. Investors may have heard us refer to this, but since we don’t officially cover CYH, we haven’t put it in writing."
If the analysis is correct, the legitimacy of CHS' $6 per share bid for Tenet should be questioned, she writes. She suspects CHS will now come under "material and significant scrutiny" from RAC auditors and the OIG/DOJ.
• There were four trading halts on Community's shares yesterday as investors scrambled to unload the stock.
• Local Robert W. Baird analyst Whit Mayo called the suit a "declaration of war" in a research note this morning, and said there are likely reasonable explanations for the apparent discrepancy in CHS's observation data, for which there is no universal tool or framework. He writes:
"THC's analysis conspicuously excluded any measure of variability around the average (e.g., standard deviation) and UHS data is completely absent (what?). Additionally, CYH's Medicare revenue mix, admit growth, and margin profile are all constant with peers, but should be higher according to THC's analysis, all else equal. We anticipate CYH will provide a more thorough response over the near term, but investors are likely to assume the worst for now. CYH stock gave up $1.4 billion of market cap, well in excess of even THC's estimate of potential liability ("over $1B")."
Local companies RegionalCare Hospital Partners, Capella Healthcare and Transition Healthcare are officially in the running to buy Landmark Medical in Rhode Island. California's Prime Health Services also has its hat in the ring, and HealthSouth is hoping to buy the rehab hospital only. Read it here.
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