Shares of Acadia Healthcare (NASDAQ:ACHC), an international provider of behavioral healthcare services, are on the move despite a fourth-quarter earnings report that missed consensus estimates on the top and bottom lines. With a new CEO at the helm, investors looking forward to 2019 have pushed the stock 13.5% higher as of 12:13 p.m. EST on Friday.
Acadia recorded a $325.9 million goodwill impairment charge in the fourth quarter related to its U.K. facilities. Adjusting for this and other noncash charges allowed the company to report $2.24 per share in adjusted earnings, which was just 2.6% less than a year earlier.
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Investors were more impressed with top-line revenue improvements last year. In the U.S., same-facility revenue rose 3.5% in the fourth quarter, compared to the previous-year period. In the U.K., same-facility revenue ticked up to 4.4%, although the segment’s EBITDA margin sank to 16.4% from 21% a year earlier. According to Acadia, margins in the U.K., which are responsible for 36% of total revenue, contracted due to higher wages in a tightening labor market.
Acadia Healthcare expects adjusted earnings per share to reach between $2.15 and $2.30 this year, compared to $2.24 in 2018. On the top line, it anticipates that revenue will reach between $3.15 billion and $3.20 billion, compared to $3.01 billion in 2018.
The company’s push into the U.K. hasn’t worked out nearly as well as expected, but it’s still earning a profit and patient demand for treatment to manage mental health problems is surging. While it looks like recent talks with private equity groups have broken down, meeting earnings expectations in 2019 could bring those investors back to the deal table.