Back to top

Image: Bigstock

Universal Health's (UHS) Q4 Earnings Beat Estimates, Up Y/Y

Read MoreHide Full Article

Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS - Free Report) delivered fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $2.37 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.9%. Moreover, the bottom line improved 18.5% year over year and the upside is mainly attributable to rising revenues.

Net revenues increased 4.2% year over year to $2.8 billion and also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.6%, backed by higher admissions and patient days.

Total operating expenses of $2.5 billion at the end of the four-quarter increased 8.2% year over year, mainly due to salaries, wages and benefits along with other operating expense.

Segment Update

Acute Care Hospitals:

Adjusted admissions and adjusted patient days inched up 2.2% and 4.8%, respectively, from the prior-year quarter. Net revenues (on a same facility basis) climbed 4.7% in the fourth quarter, majorly aided by rise in admissions and patient days.

Behavioral Hospitals:

On same facility basis, adjusted admissions rose 4.5% while adjusted patient days dipped 1.2%, both on a year-over-year basis. Net revenues were up 2% during the quarter under review on same facility basis owing to higher admissions.

Financial Update

As of Dec 31, 2018, the company had cash and cash equivalents of nearly $105.2 million, up 41.4% from year-end 2017.

Total assets were $11 billion as of Dec 31, 2018, up 4.7% from year-end 2017.

The company’s long-term debt came in at $ 3.9 billion, up 12.6% from year-end 2017.

For 2018, net cash provided by operating activities totaled $1.3 billion, up 13.6% year over year.

Buyback Program

During the fourth quarter, the company bought back 1.22 million shares worth $149.3 million.

Moreover, last December, its board of directors authorized a $500-million jump from the existing share repurchase program.

In 2018, the company bought back shares worth $401.3 million.

Full-Year Highlights

For 2018, net revenues grew 3.5% to $10.8 billion. Adjusted net income of the year summed $9.53 per share, up 26.6% year over year.

2019 Outlook

Net revenues for the year are projected between $11.2 billion and $11.4 billion. Adjusted EPS for the year is estimated at $9.70- $10.40. Capital expenditures are expected between $675 million and $725 million.

Zacks Rank

Universal Health currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Releases From the Medical Sector

Among other players from the medical sector having reported fourth-quarter earnings so far, the bottom-line results of Humana Inc. (HUM - Free Report) , Centene Corporation (CNC - Free Report) and Molina Healthcare, Inc (MOH - Free Report) outpaced the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?

Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.

See Latest Stocks Today >>