WEST ORANGE, N.J., March 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lincoln Educational Services Corporation (Nasdaq:LINC) ("Lincoln"), a leading provider of diversified career-oriented post-secondary education, today reported fourth quarter and 2010 year end results.

Highlights:

Quarterly -
  • Revenue of $167.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, representing an increase of 6.1% from $157.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2009.  
  • Diluted earnings per share of $1.04 for the fourth quarter of 2010, representing an increase of 26.8% from $0.82 for the fourth quarter of 2009. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter includes a goodwill impairment charge of $0.28 per share.  
  • Student starts decreased by 8.4% as compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.  
  • Average student population increased by 3.3% as compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.   
  • Declared a dividend of $1 per share, to be paid in equal quarterly installments.

Yearly -
  • Revenue of $639.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, representing an increase of 15.7% from $552.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2009.  
  • Diluted earnings per share of $2.79 for the year ended December 31, 2010, representing an increase of 53.3% from $1.82 for the year ended December 31, 2009. Diluted earnings per share for the year includes a goodwill impairment charge of $0.25 per share.  
  • Student starts decreased by 0.9% as compared to the year ended December 31, 2009.   
  • Student population remained essentially unchanged with 29,221 students enrolled at December 31, 2010 as compared to 29,340 at December 31, 2009.   
  • Repurchased $50.1 million of our common stock.

2011 Guidance –                                                                                                             
  • Revenue of $600 million to $615 million, representing a decrease of approximately 4% to 6% from 2010.  
  • Diluted earnings per share of $1.65 to $2.00, representing a decrease of approximately 28% to 40% from 2010. Diluted earnings per share for 2011 includes approximately $0.28 per share in investments for online, three startup campuses and the relocation of an existing campus.  
  • Decrease in expected student starts of 5% to 10% from 2010. Student starts are expected to stabilize during the second half of the year.  
  • For the first quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of $142.0 million to $146.0 million, representing a decrease of approximately 5.5% from the first quarter of 2010, and diluted earnings per share of $0.34 to $0.40, representing a decrease of approximately 33% from the first quarter of 2010. Guidance for the first quarter of 2011 is based on an expected decrease in student starts of 30% to 36% from the same period in 2010, which reflects the most challenging quarterly comparison expected for the year.  
  • The Board of Directors has set the record and payment dates for the dividend for the first quarter of 2011.   The cash dividend of $0.25 per share will be payable on March 31, 2011 to shareholders of record on March 15, 2011.

Comment and Outlook

"The fourth quarter marked the culmination of an extremely challenging year," said Shaun McAlmont, Lincoln's President and CEO. "While we achieved a significant number of milestones in both the fourth quarter and the year, including record revenue, operating income and earnings per share, 2010 was also filled with many challenges and uncertainties. The negotiated rulemaking process conducted by the Department of Education ("Department") highlighted several areas of focus which we believe will result in the standards that the Department will use in evaluating institutions on a going forward basis. These metrics are squarely focused on successful student outcomes, including graduation rates, repayment rates and student debt levels, regardless of the demographics served. 

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