February 28, 2012 / 2:23 PM / 6 years ago

Tenet says delayed payments from insurers hit results

(Reuters) - Tenet Healthcare Inc (THC.N) on Tuesday said delayed reimbursements from some insurers caused it to report quarterly earnings below analyst estimates but the No. 3 U.S. hospital chain raised its full-year outlook because it expects to be paid later in the year.

The company also posted a net loss in the fourth quarter after restructuring debt to reduce interest expense.

“While we recognize this timing issue could create some noise, we would characterize Tenet’s results as in line and its operations as stable,” Barclays Capital analyst Adam Feinstein said in a note to clients.

Tenet executives speaking on a conference call with analysts declined to specify which insurers owe the company payments, citing the confidential nature of the discussions, but said it was working with several to settle accounts.

Tenet posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $76 million, or 17 cents per share, hurt by costs for the early debt restructuring. That compared with net income of $74 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.

Fourth-quarter income excluding debt-related costs was 10 cents per share, up from 8 cents a share in the same period a year ago but below the average analyst estimate of 14 cents per share according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, increased 4.6 percent to $294 million.

Net operating revenue in the quarter rose 5.4 percent to $2.23 billion, boosted by stronger patient trends and better pricing for its services.

Admissions increased 0.3 percent in the quarter and surgeries rose 3.2 percent.

Dallas-based Tenet said it raised its forecast for 2012 EBITDA to a range of $1.225 billion to $1.350 billion as it anticipates receiving favorable settlements from some insurers.

Tenet shares rose less than 1 percent to $5.68 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting By Susan Kelly; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Mark Porter

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