Now I’d like to hand the call over to Todd to discuss the financials and our EPS guidance for the year and after which I will discuss how we see the market and the opportunities going forward. Todd?
Thank you, Damon, and good morning, everyone. We are very pleased with our fourth quarter operating results. In the fourth quarter of 2011, we generated $0.41 of EPS. Our fourth quarter financial performance exceeded our guidance, due primarily to higher US Marshal populations, lower effective income tax rate and lower than anticipated operating costs.
Average US Marshal populations in Q4 increase over Q3, with increases coming at facilities that were operating at very high occupancy rates, thus generating attractive incremental margin dollars on those inmates in the quarter. The effective income tax rate for Q4 was 35.6%, which was significantly below the approximately 38%. We have been averaging for the first three quarters. The lower tax rate was a result of several tax credits available at the end of the year.This lower tax rate added $0.02 to Q4 EPS. So adjusting for the unusually low tax rate for Q4, we really need to think about Q4 as a $0.39 quarter on a normalized basis, which is still ahead of the guidance range for Q4 2011 of $0.37 to $0.38. As a reminder, in early January, we closed on a new $785 million all revolver bank credit facility, replaced our previous $450 million revolving bank facility. The increased capacity under the new facility will be used to repay $335 million of the $375 million outstanding under our 6 1/4% senior notes that mature in March of 2013. The refinancing of the notes will be completed on February 13 when we finalize and fund redemption call. This will leave $40 million outstanding under those senior notes.
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