Health insurance giant, UnitedHealthcare Group (UNH - Get Report) is set to report earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016 on Tuesday, and analysts expect its acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates (SCAI) to be centerstage.
Analyst David Windley of Jefferies noted that the company has already provided guidance for 2017.
UnitedHealthcare's pharmacy benefit manager, Optum Rx, will take over Surgical Care.
"The new development will be this acquisition of Surgical Care Affiliates," he said by phone Friday. "Management had previously messaged to investors that, long-term, it believed that Optum Care could grow a lot. We didn't anticipate that the growth could come through surgery centers."
UnitedHealthcare announced this acquisition, worth $2.3 billion, on Jan. 9, amid a bevy of healthcare deals announced that morning at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. The deal, which valued Surgical Care at $57 per share, is expected to close in the first half of 2017 and to be funded in cash and stock. UnitedHealthcare will use 51% to 80% in stock and fund the rest of the deal in cash.
Windley said by phone that he expects the acquisition will be top of mind for investors Tuesday morning, which is when UnitedHealthcare reports earnings. The investors will likely have questions on whether UnitedHealthcare expects to continue growing through surgical care centers or if it will focus more on physician practices.
The company is expected to report $2.07 per share in earnings. Windley said Jefferies has a $2.06 estimate, and expects United to rake in $47 million in revenue for the quarter.
As for the rest of the call?
"We're not expecting any big, significant surprises," analyst Michael Newshel of Evercore said by phone Friday.
He noted that UnitedHealthcare is well-insulated from any downside that could come from repealing the Affordable Care Act. Windley agreed, noting also that these issues will likely impact UnitedHealthcare in the long term, so it may not be top of mind during Tuesday's earnings call.
"It will be interesting to see what kind of commentary they have," Windley said. "From a time standpoint it is probably kicked down the road."
UnitedHealthcare was trading at $162.12 per share Friday. The company fell 0.14% from market's open Friday.
Windley has a price target of $186 and a buy rating on the stock. Newshel also rates the stock a buy, and has a price target of $184 of UnitedHealthcare.