Express Scripts Inc. (NASDAQ:ESRX), provider of pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services, reported weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, sending its shares down 0.25 percent in after-market trading
Earnings for the fourth quarter were $290.4 million or $0.59 per share, down from $329.6 million or $0.62 per share last year. Adjusted earnings per share rose to $0.82 from $0.71. Revenue increased to $12.10 billion from $11.29 billion. Analysts had expected profit of $0.85 per share on revenue of $11.60 billion.
Adjusted claims rose 2 percent to 194.9 million, driven by increases in Canada and Medicaid business. Gross profit increased 8 percent to $844.5 million, while selling, general and administrative expenses rose to $269.6 million from $215.5 million.
ESRX said gross profit and selling general and administrative expenses were impacted by the continued acceleration of projects to free up capacity for integration activities in 2012.
The pending merger of Express Scripts with Medco will allow ESRX to accelerate its clinical offerings, designed to improve health outcomes while lowering healthcare costs for patients.
Although ESRX will not provide 2012 guidance until after the completion of the acquisition of Medco, which is expected in the first half of 2012, the company is reaffirming claims utilization and in-group attrition outlook to be consistent with 2011 levels.
Client retention, based on prescription volume, is expected to be greater than 97%. The company expects claims growth to be in a range of 0% to 2% for 2012.
ESRX closed Wednesday's regular session down 1.30 percent at $51.63. The stock has been trading between $34.47 and $60.89 for the past 52 weeks.