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LHC Group (LHCG) Closes Heart of Hospice Buyout, Expands Presence

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LHC Group, Inc. LHCG recently completed its previously announced (Jun 2, 2021) deal to acquire Heart of Hospice from EPI Group, LLC, which is a Charleston, SC-based family-owned holding company. The buyout will allow LHC Group to expand its hospice footprint in five states. The transaction comprises 16 hospice agencies in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

The buyout adds the aforementioned hospice agencies to the LHC Group family of currently 144 hospice locations.

It is worth mentioning that these new hospice locations will continue to operate under the Heart of Hospice name.

This transaction is likely to provide a substantial boost to the company’s hospice business line.

Significance of the Acquisition

Per management, this buyout is a milestone in LHC Group’s ongoing initiative to broaden its hospice services. The acquisition brings in above 750 Heart of Hospice employees, an excellent reputation with respect to quality and compliance to the LHC Group. These factors along with a combined 150 years of executive hospice leadership make the deal crucial to LHC Group’s plans.

Heart of Hospice’s mission and vision complement LHC Group’s core values. The combination of these companies will help patients and families through the difficult period related to end-of-life care.

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The transaction also aligns with the company’s strategy of keeping and operating under a family of well-known local brands.

LHC Group projects annualized revenues of around $92.5 million from this buyout. However, it notes that the deal will not materially impact its 2021 earnings per share.

Market Prospects

Per a report by Market Data Forecast, the global hospice market size is anticipated to see a CAGR of 9.1% between 2021 and 2026. Hence, the completion of the acquisition comes at an opportune time for the company.

Recent Developments

In August, the company finalized the previously agreed buyouts of three home health, hospice, and palliative care providers in Virginia, Indiana and Arkansas.

In July, LHC Group formed a strategic partnership with SCP Health concerning the joint development and delivery of advanced clinical care services at home. The partnership will provide a comprehensive offering of in-home healthcare services, including skilled nursing facility (SNF)-at-home and hospital-at-home programs, to existing and new hospital and health system partners in order to meet the increasing demand for value-based care models and at-home care solutions.

Price Performance

Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have lost 9% in a year’s time, compared with the industry’s decline of 32.1%.

Key Picks

Some better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Henry Schein, Inc. HSIC, Envista Holdings Corporation NVST and Merit Medical Systems, Inc. MMSI. While both Henry Schein and Envista Holdings carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Merit Medical sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Henry Schein’s long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 13.9%.

Envista Holdings’ long-term earnings growth rate is estimated at 27.4%.

Merit Medical’s long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 13.6%.


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