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HealthSouth 3Q profit rises, raises outlook

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Hospital operator HealthSouth Corp. reported a 20 percent jump in third-quarter profit Monday as it treated more patients while controlling operating costs, and raised its outlook for the year.

HealthSouth also said its board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to $200 million in common stock. Buying back stock can boost earnings per share.

For the period ended Sept. 30 the company, reported net income of after paying preferred dividends of $52.5 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with $41.4 million, or 43 cents per share, in the same months a year earlier.

Income from continuing operations came to 59 cents per share, topping the 41-cent estimate of analysts polled by FactSet.

HealthSouth said revenue increased 5 percent, to $564 million from $537 million, as the company discharged 5.7 percent more patients in the three-month period. Analysts expected $557 million.

The company, which operates rehabilitation hospitals in 28 states and Puerto Rico, spent $70 million in the quarter to acquire four hospitals previously operated under lease agreements.

Operating expenses were nearly unchanged at $425 million.

HealthSouth raised its profit outlook for the year to $3.06 to $3.09 per share from $2.87 to $2.93 per share.

Shares dipped 7 cents to $34.88 in regular trading and were inactive in after-hours trading.