Apollo (APOL) Income Drops 61%, Yet Shares Surge

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apollo Group (APOL), the for-profit parent company of University of Phoenix, surged in trading after reporting fourth-quarter diluted earnings per share of 19 cents on revenue 15.2% lower than a year earlier to $845 million. Operating income dropped 61.3% to $34.7 million from $89.6 million a year earlier.

Excluding special items such as restructuring, the company earned 55 cents a share, 30 cents higher than estimates provided by analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance.

Shares are up 25.3% to $26.24, leading the S&P 500 which is down 0.48%.

Waning enrollments continued to bedevil Apollo's profitability, with fourth-quarter degreed enrollments to University of Phoenix dropping 18.1% to 269,000 students. New degreed enrollments fell 22.3% to 41,000.

For full-year 2013, the Phoenix-based company recorded net revenue of $3.7 billion, 14% lower than $3.7 billion in 2012, and a 36.8% drop in operating income to $4247.4 million.

"Fiscal Year 2013 brought challenges and opportunities for Apollo Group," said CEO Greg Cappelli. "We set out this year this year to differentiate University of Phoenix, diversify Apollo Group and build a more efficient organization. We have made meaningful progress in each of these areas."

For the upcoming 2014 fiscal year, Apollo forecasts operating income between $375 million to $450 million on revenue of $2.95 billion to $3.05 billion. The figures well-surpassed the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who predicted operating income of $386 million on $3.21 billion on revenue.

The company also announced it is making 500 non-faculty employees redundant this week so as to put the company in good stead for an improved 2014.

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