Thursday, August 5, 2004

Chemed doubles quarterly earnings

Income up at CBD Media, Regent, too

By Mike Boyer
and Justin Fenton
Enquirer staff writers

Chemed Corp., which acquired the nation's largest hospice provider in February, more than doubled revenues and earnings for the second quarter ended June 30.

The news sent the company's shares up $3.39 or 9 percent, closing at $49.69.

Net income increased to $8.3 million, or 66 cents a share, up from $3.3 million, or 33 cents a share, in the same period last year. The consensus by two analysts was earnings of 52 cents a share. Chemed's stock closed up 7 percent Wednesday at $49.69, up $3.39.

The June period was Chemed's first full quarter owning Florida-based Vitas Healthcare Corp., which generated record revenue of $130.2 million and net income of $7.9 million, up 81 percent.

"The expansion of the Vitas business model continues to exceed our expectations,'' said Kevin McNamara, Chemed's CEO.

Roto-Rooter, Chemed's plumbing and drain cleaning business, reported net income of $5.2 million, up 33 percent from a year ago, and revenues of $68.9 million, up 6.7 percent from a year ago.

A price increase and a 1.6 percent increase in job count fueled the Roto-Rooter gains, McNamara said.

For the current quarter, Chemed said it expects earnings of 56 to 60 cents a share, and fourth-quarter earnings of 68 to 72 cents a share.

In other earnings news:


The Cincinnati Yellow Pages publisher, reported second-quarter net income of $326,000, on revenues of $22.9 million compared with a loss of $5.03 million on revenues of $21.9 million a year ago.

The directory provider, acquired in 2002 by Spectrum Equity Investors, from what is now Cincinnati Bell Inc., isn't a publicly traded stock but it carries $150 million in public, high-yield debt requiring a filing with Securities and Exchange Commission.

Doug Myers, CBD president, said the second-quarter results were good, considering the competition among directory publishers in Cincinnati, and a testament to the Cincinnati Bell brand.

Regent Communications Inc.

The Covington-based broadcaster reported that its second-quarter net income jumped 21 percent over the same period in 2003, closing at $2.3 million from $1.9 million in the face of sluggish national advertising.

The increase represented a boost in earnings per share to 5 cents from 4 cents. For the second quarter, net broadcast revenue increased 3.6 percent to $22.2 million from $21.5 million for the same period last year.

Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said local advertising is $1 million ahead of what the company had expected, "more than making up for a national revenue shortfall."

Clear Channel, the nation's largest radio station operator, has said it will cut its amount of commercials by one-fifth, which it expects will boost rating and advertising rates by creating scarcity.

Jacobs said running fewer commercials was a "tremendous oversimplification" of the issue.

"We do applaud any effort in that direction that would bring attention to improving quality," he said.

Regent owns 73 radio stations in 15 markets and 10 states. Nearly a third of Regent's revenue comes from stations in Albany, N.Y.; El Paso, Texas; and Grand Rapids, Mich.

For the first six months of 2004, net income increased to $2.7 million, or 6 cents per share, from $2.0 million in the same period last year, or 4 cents per share.

Shares in Regent closed Wednesday at $5.63, down 10 cents.

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