UPDATE 2-Amedisys Q4 profit beats Street; FY outlook tops view

* Sees 2010 EPS $5.40-$5.60 vs est $5.18

* Sees 2010 rev $1.70 bln-$1.75 bln vs est $1.69 bln

* Q4 revenue $405.5 mln vs est $396.2 mln

* Shares fall as much as 4 pct
(Adds analyst comments, updates share movement)

Feb 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Home healthcare provider Amedisys Inc
(AMED.O: ) posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit,
boosted by strong net service revenue from start-up agencies,
and forecast 2010 results above Wall Street expectations.

However, the company’s shares, which jumped 3 percent to
$61.75 in early morning trade, fell as much as 4 percent as
some investors and industry analysts viewed the 2010 outlook as
conservative.

“The Street was expecting the company to outperform
consensus numbers due to the improved reimbursement
environment. Nevertheless, we believe the company is taking a
conservative approach, which is typical of years past,”
Oppenheimer analyst Michael Wiederhorn said in a note.

For 2010, Amedisys expects to earn $5.40 to $5.60 a share,
and projected revenue of $1.70 billion to $1.75 billion,
beating market’s earnings expectations of $5.18, on revenue
view of $1.69 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the fourth quarter, the company’s net income rose 43
percent to $37.8 million, or $1.35 a share, from $26.3 million,
or 97 cents a share, a year earlier.

Net service revenue increased $65.4 million to $405.5
million.

Analysts on average expected earnings of $1.31 a share, on
revenue of $396.2 million.

Last week, Amedisys’s peer Gentiva Health Services Inc
(GTIV.O: ) posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped
by higher revenue from its home health episodic and hospice
segments.

Shares of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based company were
trading down $1.06 at $58.98 Tuesday on Nasdaq. They had
touched a low of $57.68 earlier in the day.

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(Reporting by Anuradha Ramanathan in Bangalore; Editing by
Vinu Pilakkott and Maju Samuel)

UPDATE 2-Amedisys Q4 profit beats Street; FY outlook tops view