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Chemed Results Top Estimates; Outlook Strong

Chemed Corp. (CHE) said Monday that its fourth quarter profit rose 4% from last year, as strong performance by its VITAS segment more than offset the weakness in its Roto-Rooter segment.

The company's quarterly earnings per share, excluding items, also came in above analysts' expectations as did its quarterly revenue. At the same time, the company gave a strong earnings outlook for the current year.

Chemed operates VITAS Healthcare Corp., the largest U.S. provider of end-of-life care, and Roto-Rooter, the largest commercial and residential plumbing and drain cleaning services provider in the U.S.

Fourth quarter revenue for the VITAS segment rose 7.2% to $273 million, due to a 5.4% increase in Average Daily Census.

Roto-Rooter's plumbing and drain cleaning business generated fourth quarter revenue of $95.6 million, a decrease of 0.1% from a year earlier.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012, Chemed reported net income of $26.7 million or $1.40 per share, compared to $25.7 million or $1.31 per share for the year-ago quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the fourth quarter was $29.9 million or $1.57 per share, compared to $28.3 million or $1.45 per share in the prior year quarter.

On average, 5 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company toe earn $1.48 per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Chemed's total revenue for the fourth quarter rose 5.2% to $368.58 million from $350.25 million in the same quarter last year. Four analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $364.95 million for the fourth quarter.

Looking forward, Chemed forecast 2013 adjusted earnings of $5.65 to $5.80 per share. Analysts currently expect the company to earn $5.47 per share for the full year 2013.

Chemed shares closed Friday's regular trading session at $76.09, down 71 cents.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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