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Air Methods posts larger-than-expected 1Q loss

DENVER (AP) -- Air Methods Corp.'s shares sank in after-hours trading Thursday after the air medical transportation company posted a larger-than-expected loss for its first quarter on weaker revenue.

The company, based in Denver, provides patient transportation services and also recently bought a Grand Canyon helicopter tour operator.

Air Methods reported a net loss of $5.7 million, or 15 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That compares with net income of $12.5 million, or 32 cents per share, for the same quarter last year. Revenue fell 6 percent $179.2 million on lower patient transportation revenue.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 14 cents per share on revenue of $187 million.

CEO Aaron Todd said that severe weather and weaker payments hurt the company's quarter. He added that the lower flight volume did not translate into lower maintenance expense, as there is often a delay in the expense benefit associated with fewer flights.

Air Methods also said Thursday that flight volume for April fell 7 percent for community-based transportation.

Shares fell $1.61, or 4.4 percent, to $35.25 in after-hours trading.