- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DALLAS (AP) - Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. went from a loss to a profit in the first quarter, partly on a gain from a debt exchange, the company said in releasing preliminary results Tuesday.

Tenet also raised its outlook for the full year.

The preview of Tenet’s first-quarter results drove the stock higher in premarket trading, rising 44 cents, or 31 percent, to $1.86.

Tenet said it expects net income attributable to common shareholders of $178 million, or 37 cents per share. That’s an improvement from a loss of $31 million, or 6 cents per share, in last year’s first quarter.

Thos results include a $134 million gain on Tenet’s exchange of debt. In January, Tenet offered to swap up to $1.6 billion worth of notes due in 2011 and 2012 for new debt due in 2014 and 2019, in a bid to postpone debt obligations and preserve cash amid a tight credit environment.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected break-even earnings per share.

The company said first-quarter revenue rose to $2.28 billion, up from $2.18 billion in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 4.7 percent.

Tenet said it expects full-year results ranging from a net loss of $55 million to net income of $75 million. Analysts expect a loss of 14 cents per share.

Outpatient visits at hospitals open at least a year rose 0.7 percent, the company said, but same-hospital admissions fell 1.3 percent. Adjusted for an extra day in last year’s first quarter because of leap year, same-hospital admissions were flat, the company said.

The company also saw a decline in admissions of patients covered by commercial insurance, a sign of increasing unemployment amid the recession.

Tenet is scheduled to release its full first-quarter results May 5.

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