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HCA preliminary adjusted profit beats analysts’ estimates

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(Bloomberg) — HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCA), the biggest for-profit U.S. hospital chain by patient volume, reported preliminary second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.37 a share, topping analysts’ estimates of $1.33.

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The company said revenue rose about 7.2 percent to $9.9 billion, beating estimates of $9.77 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Same-facility hospital admissions increased 4.1 percent. HCA also updated its full-year forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to “near the high-end of its previously issued guidance” of $7.55 billion to $7.85 billion.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month in King v. Burwell, which upheld a key component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange program, may help fuel more patient traffic for HCA. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company has largely missed out on a surge of newly insured patients because many of its hospitals are in states that have refused to take PPACA Medicaid expansion funding.

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That may change in states like Tennessee, Florida and Virginia now that Obamacare’s future is clearer, according to Jefferies & Co. analyst Brian Tanquilut.

“HCA has not seen much benefit from ‘reform’ versus its peers given its modest exposure to Medicaid states,” Tanquilut wrote in a note to investors.

Adjusted earnings per share exclude a loss on retirement of debt of 18 cents a share and losses on sales of facilities of 1 cent. Net income totaled about $1.18 a share, up from $1.07 a year earlier.

The company’s shares fell 1.2 percent to $92.95 in late trading at 5:22 p.m. New York time after the results were released. They had fallen less than 1 percent to $94.12 at the New York close.

HCA, which owns about 165 hospitals and 115 freestanding surgery centers in the U.S. and the U.K., reports second-quarter earnings on Aug. 5.