HCA sees Q2 earnings lag, stays ready for more acquisitions

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, which operates 172 hospitals and 119 freestanding surgery centers, saw revenue increase in the second quarter of 2017, but the company missed quarterly earnings estimates and slashed its yearly profit forecast. 

HCA's revenues increased 4 percent year over year to $10.73 billion in the second quarter of 2017, which fell below analysts' estimate of $10.85 billion, according to Reuters. Weaker-than-expected patient volumes tempered revenue growth in the second quarter.

After accounting for a 4.2 percent increase in expenses, HCA ended the second quarter of this year with net income of $657 million, which was down slightly from $658 million in the same period of 2016.

For the first half of 2017, HCA reported net income of $1.32 billion on revenues of $21.36 billion. That's compared to the first half of last year when HCA recorded net income of $1.35 billion on revenues of $20.58 billion.

"Our results in the first half have been challenged by, one, softer managed and exchange volumes, and, two, our London market results have been negatively impacted by currency conversion rates and lower admissions from Middle East embassies and private insurance," said R. Milton Johnson, chairman and CEO of HCA, on a second quarter earnings call Tuesday.

HCA has been on an acquisition spree in recent months, and Mr. Johnson suggested that trend may continue.

"Our balance sheet and cash flow gives us the financial flexibility to invest in our existing markets to acquire new hospitals and to continue to execute our share repurchase plan," he said.

Regarding the share repurchase plan, Mr. Johnson said HCA repurchased 6.4 million shares during the second quarter of this year at a cost of $542 million. The company has $887 million remaining under the existing repurchase authorization.

HCA said it now expects earnings per share for the year in the range of $7.00 to $7.30, down from its previous forecast of $7.20 to $7.60.

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