Dogged Showing by VCA Antech

The vet chain beats estimates and guides in line.
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VCA Antech

(WOOF) - Get Report

beat fourth-quarter targets and guided in line for 2006.

The Los Angeles-based veterinary hospital outfit made $17 million, or 20 cents a share, up from $13 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 23% from a year ago to $217 million. Analysts were looking for a 19-cent per-share profit on revenue of $211 million.

"We had another strong quarter marked by continued growth in our core businesses," said CEO Bob Antin. "Our laboratory internal revenue growth for the fourth quarter of 2005 was 10.6%, generating a 12.3% increase in laboratory gross profit and an increase in laboratory gross profit margins to 42% compared to 41.4% in the comparable prior year quarter. Our laboratory operating margins increased to 35.2% compared to 34.9% in the fourth quarter of 2004.

"Our continued effort to integrate recent acquisitions is proceeding well and the operating results for our animal hospital segment were in line with our expectations," Antin said. "Our consolidated animal hospital revenue for the fourth quarter of 2005 grew 26.5%, generating a 21.0% increase in animal hospital gross profit, reflecting a gross profit margin of 16.7% compared to 17.4% in the comparable prior year quarter. Our animal hospital same-store revenue growth for the fourth quarter of 2005, adjusted for one additional business day, was 4.4% and our same-store gross profit margins were 17.4% compared to 17.6% in the comparable prior year quarter. Our consolidated animal hospital operating margins for the fourth quarter of 2005 were 13.5% compared to 14.6% in the comparable prior year quarter.

"Our medical technology segment revenue grew 62.4% in the fourth quarter to $9.9 million. Operating income for the fourth quarter was $284,000. We are excited by the sales growth and the positive acceptance of our products in the veterinary profession."

VCA Antech said it expects to make $1.03 to $1.06 a share on revenue of $943 million to $962 million. The profit forecast includes 2 cents a share worth of stock-based compensation expense.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a $1.06-a-share profit on revenue of $951 million.

On Tuesday, VCA Antech shares rose 15 cents to close at $29.26.