Amedisys beats profit forecast

Baton Rouge-based Amedisys Inc., one of the nation’s largest home health and hospice companies, posted a second-quarter profit of $7.6 million, or 23 cents per share, handily beating the company’s forecast from late June by cutting costs.

Amedisys’ results also were well above those from the second quarter of 2013 of $1.8 million, or 6 cents per share, and expectations of Wall Street analysts.

Stock analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research forecast second-quarter earnings of 17 cents per share. However, before Amedisys’ June forecast, analysts had expected earnings of 1 cent per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings of 4 cents per share after that announcement. Before the announcement, analysts expected Amedisys would break even for the quarter.

The price for Amedisys shares jumped 25 percent, or $4.09, to close Wednesday at $20.16. Shares spiked as high as $20.93 durng the day.

Amedisys made the improvements in profitability despite a dip in revenue from $315.7 million to $305 million. However, the company chopped $19. 3 million from its operating expenses, reducing those costs from $311.7 million to $292.4 million.

Amedisys reported a first-quarter loss of $12.4 million. But those results included $16.1 million in costs, much of that related to the expense of closing centers and restructuring. Without those expenses, Amedisys would have had a first-quarter loss of $2.2 million, or 7 cents per share.

Interim Chief Executive Officer Ronald A. LaBorde said Wednesday that much work remains, but Amedisys has re-established “a solid foundation” that will allow the company to focus on improving its core business.

Amedisys provides home health and hospice care to more than 360,000 patients annually.