Renal Care Group ( RCI) reported flat fourth-quarter earnings, hit by an after-tax charge.

The company earned $32.6 million, or 46 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $32.1 million, or 46 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for transaction-related costs of $4.1 million, or 6 cents a share, in connection with the Fresenius Medical Care deal, earnings were $36.7 million, or 52 cents a share in the most recent quarter. On that basis analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 53 cents a share.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 10.8% from a year ago to $410.2 million. Analysts were expecting revenue of $409.1 million in the most recent quarter.

''In spite of the pending transaction with Fresenius Medical Care, we have remained focused on our operations. We look forward to closing the transaction with Fresenius Medical Care on or before March 31, 2006, and to executing the transition and integration plans we have jointly developed," the company said.

The Nashville, Tennessee-based company's fourth-quarter operating profit rose 2.9% from a year ago to $71.9 million. Operating margin increased 88 basis points to 10.9%.
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