Cigna Corp., Philadelphia, saw its first-quarter net income soar more than sixfold to $436 million, or $3.28 per share, from $68 million, or 48 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter when the company was in the thick of a financial turnaround. The latest results include a $169 million gain on the sale of the company's retirement benefits unit. Revenue for the three months ended March 31 fell 8% to $4.35 billion, as enrollment dropped 12% to 9 million members. Cigna boosted its 2005 per-share earnings forecast to between $6.40 and $6.90, up from $5.55 to $6.05.
Separately, Coventry Health Care, Bethesda, Md., posted a 52% increase in first-quarter profits, fueled by its $1.8 billion acquisition of First Health Group in January. Net income for the quarter reached $112.7 million, or $1.09 per share, up from $74.3 million, or 82 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue climbed 22% to $1.57 billion, and enrollment rose by 18,000 members to 2.45 million. Coventry raised its 2005 per-share earnings outlook to between $4.48 and $4.58, up from $4.43 to $4.53. -- by Laura B. Benko