AdvancePCS Profits Rise - TheStreet

Health services provider

AdvancePCS

(ADVP)

beat fourth-quarter profit estimates on the strength of its specialty distribution program and its growing mail order pharmacy business.

The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $35 million, or 34 cents a share, up from $3.2 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. On a pro forma basis, AdvancePCS earned $9.5 million, or 11 cents a share, last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had been expecting 33 cents a share for the fourth quarter.

Revenue for the quarter grew to $3.4 billion from $3.0 billion, but missed the consensus estimate of $3.53 billion. EBITDA was $79 million, up 29% from $61.3 million last year.

In a press release, the company said it is "poised to continue the growth in profitability in coming quarters," as most of its large clients have renewed contracts. AdvancePCS also said it had signed new contracts that would add 3 million customers in 2003.