Athenahealth Inc. Earnings: Snaps Strong Streak with Profit Drop

athenahealth Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN) reported earnings today. athenahealth Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN) provides Internet-based business services for physician practices. The Company’s services include a revenue cycle management service that automates and manages billing-related functions for physician practices and includes a practice management platform.

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athenahealth Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for athenahealth, Inc. fell to $5.3 million (15 cents per share) vs. $7.3 million (21 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 27% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 33.4% to $92.5 million from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN) reported adjusted net income of 26 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 16 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $92.5 million.

Quoting Management: “During 2011, athenahealth (NASDAQ:ATHN) gained a new set of game stakes in our ongoing effort to build a national health information backbone. With the advent of athenaCoordinator and permission from the government to form a two-sided market for health information exchange, this new service platform positions athenahealth to create a healthy, sustainable market for health information exchange and the beginning of a market for improving the quality of care,” said Jonathan Bush, the Company’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. “We have everything we need to incubate health care’s first high-security social network.”

Key Stats:

athenahealth has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past five quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 32.7%, with the biggest boost coming in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 36% from the year earlier quarter.

Last quarter’s profit decrease breaks a streak of four consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. In the third quarter, net income rose 38% from the year earlier, while the figure increased more than threefold in the second quarter, 1073.6% in the first quarter and more than fourfold in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

athenahealth has now topped analyst estimates for the last four quarters. It beat the mark by one cent in the third quarter, by 3 cents in the second quarter, and by 4 cents in the first quarter.

Looking Forward: The outlook for the company’s results in the upcoming quarter is unfavorable. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year is 10 cents per share, down from 14 cents ninety days ago. For the fiscal year, the average estimate has been unchanged at 57 cents a share.

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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