HCA 3Q profit jumps, revenue and admissions climb

HCA 3rd-quarter profit jumps as revenue and admissions climb for hospital operator

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- HCA Holdings Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter earnings soared compared to last year, when a big loss for debt retirement weighed on the performance of the largest U.S. hospital chain.

The Nashville, Tenn., company earned $360 million, or 78 cents per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That compares to earnings of $61 million, or 11 cents per share, in last year's quarter, when the company had more shares outstanding.

Revenue climbed 11 percent to $8.06 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 79 cents per share on $8.07 billion in revenue.

The company said late last month, when it announced a special shareholder dividend, that its third-quarter results would come in slightly short of expectations.

In last year's quarter, HCA recorded pretax losses of $406 million, or 49 cents per share, on the retirement of debt.

In this year's quarter, the company said its revenue climbed partly because of increased patient volume. The company said admissions at hospitals open at least a year climbed 2 percent to 405,800. At those hospitals, equivalent admissions rose 2.6 percent. Equivalent admissions is a figure that includes both inpatient admissions and outpatient procedures.

HCA also said its salaries and benefits, supplies and other operating expenses rose about 12 percent to $6.67 billion in the quarter.

The company ran 162 hospitals and 112 free-standing surgery centers at the end of the quarter.

HCA shares climbed 4 percent, or $1.15, to $29.56 in Thursday afternoon trading, a bigger gain than the roughly 1 percent advance of broader trading indexes.

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