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Brookdale Scraps Earnings View Due to COVID-19 Uncertainty

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Brookdale Senior Living Inc. BKD has withdrawn its previously provided full-year 2020 guidance, following the uncertainty that COVID-19 has cast on its earnings. The company had expected earnings between $510 million and $540 million for 2020, with free cash flow between $70 million and $90 million.

Another round of update regarding the company’s 2020 earnings guidance will be provided once the factors surrounding COVID-19 become clearer.

Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s largest senior-living community operator, with more than 750 facilities in 45 states, has incurred and will continue to incur significant costs to address the pandemic, in the form of incremental supply costs and additional labor costs.

The company has also taken steps to preserve its liquidity. This involves drawing upon its revolving line of credit facility in mid-March, temporarily suspending repurchases under its existing share repurchase authorization. Also, the company has modified, delayed or canceled a number of elective capital expenditure projects for the time being. It had planned approximately $190 million of capital expenditures in 2020.

The company has also taken precautionary measures to protect its residents. This includes bringing into effect infectious disease prevention training for its employees, restrictive or limited visitation. It is also putting on hold new resident admissions in certain cases.

Year to date, shares of Brookdale Senior have lost 76% compared with its industry’s decline of 49.5%. Other stocks in the same space such as Ensign Group, Inc. ENSG and Genesis Healthcare, Inc. have lost 35.9% and 34.2%, respectively, over the same time frame.

Nursing homes are racing up to tackle the coronavirus outbreak since older people are more vulnerable to infections. Security measures at this nursing home ramped up after Life Care Center in Washington reported 13 deaths related to coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the hospital sector has not escaped the onslaught of the coronavirus outbreak. Hospitals have been asked to put on hold their elective procedures in a bid to keep hospital beds available in case of potential surge in coronavirus-inflicted hospital admissions. Notably, this will dent their revenues.

Brookdale carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another stock worth considering in the same space is Tenet Healthcare Corporation THC. It carries the same Zacks Rank as Brookdale. The stock surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters but missed the same in the remaining  quarter, the positive surprise being 53.11%, on average.

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