Growth in its existing locations and longer stays by patients boosted hospice provider Odyssey Healthcare's earnings, while Sunrise Assisted Living also improved. Dallas-based Odyssey's net income for the first quarter ended March 31 was $7.2 million, or 29 cents per share, a 79% increase compared with $4 million, or 16 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Net revenue rose 50% to $60.1 million, compared with $40.1 million in the first quarter of 2002. The company said it acquired two new hospice locations on May 1 and noted it is on schedule to complete eight startup locations in 2003. Odyssey, one of the largest providers of hospice care, has 67 hospice locations in 26 states.
Meanwhile, Sunrise Assisted Living, McLean, Va., earned $13.4 million, or 56 cents per share, for its first quarter ended March 31, compared with $7.5 million, or 32 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Net revenue for the first quarter increased 23% to $136.7 million, compared with $111.1 million in 2002. To reduce debt and raise cash to buy back shares, the company also announced this week it would sell 44 of its properties in a $564 million deal. In March, Sunrise completed its acquisition Marriott Senior Living Services, adding 129 senior-living communities to its operating portfolio of 344 communities in the U.S. and U.K, to become the nation's largest senior-living operator. Pending approval by Sunrise shareholders at the company's annual shareholder meeting today, Sunrise will change its name to Sunrise Senior Living. -- by Julie Piotrowski