LifePoint Hospitals is looking to buy hospitals once again, while Community Health Systems is done selling them for the time being.
LifePoint, Brentwood, Tenn., has not made a hospital acquisition since July 2006, when it closed on the purchase of five hospitals from Nashville-based HCA. That transaction was first agreed upon during a busy 2005 for LifePoint, in which the company completed its $1.76 billion acquisition of Province Healthcare Co., which operated 20 hospitals and was close to opening another hospital in South Carolina.
LifePoint later sold the South Carolina hospital. The company also acquired two not-for-profit hospitals in Virginia in separate acquisitions in 2005.
Since that growth spurt, the company has sold seven hospitals, trimming its portfolio to 48 hospitals in 17 states.
Bill Carpenter, LifePoints president and chief executive officer, said last week while discussing the companys first-quarter financial results that the pool of potential acquisitions is deep. Were going to remain disciplined but aggressively looking for deals, Carpenter said.
LifePoints first-quarter results may afford the company more opportunities to be aggressive. After reporting disappointing results in 2007, the company recorded net income of $41.8 million, or a 40% increase in income compared with the first quarter of 2007.
Revenue increased 5.9%, to $699.9 million. Lower supply and interest expenses helped control costs, and 2007s first quarter had a $7.9 million impairment charge that hurt income.
The company also said that William Lapham, a director since LifePoint was founded in May 1999, has died. Gregory Bier, who joined the board in February, will take over Laphams duties as chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee.
Bier, 61, retired from accounting firm Deloitte & Touche in 2002 and was a director of Catholic Healthcare Partners, Cincinnati, from 2002 through 2007 and served on its Audit Committee.
Community Health Systems, meanwhile, said it is done paring its portfolio after its $6.97 billion acquisition of Triad Hospitals in July 2007. The Franklin, Tenn., company has sold 14 hospitals since closing the Triad deal.
Wayne Smith, chairman, president and CEO, said during their first-quarter earnings briefing that Community is focused on boosting growth at its 116 hospitals in 28 states.
The company also said that its acquisition of two-hospital Empire Health Services, Spokane, Wash., has been delayed because the certificate-of-need process has been slow.
A second screening application process has begun, and, if the application is deemed complete by May 13, a public hearing on the sale could be scheduled for late June, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Closing is expected in time for the start of the fourth quarter on Oct. 1, Community said.
Community also said that it has negotiated a $16 million decrease in the purchase price, originally set at $172.1 million, because Empires 2007 financial results were weaker than in 2006. Empire said in February that it was eliminating 130 full-time positions after losing $7.1 million in 2007.
Community executives disclosed the delay as they announced their financial results for the first quarter of 2008. The company posted slightly higher net income of $60.1 million, up 10.7% from $54.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue, thanks largely to the Triad acquisition, more than doubled, to $2.73 billion.