January 15, 2019 / 9:48 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Spire Healthcare shares tumble after it cuts FY profit view

(Adds background, analyst comments, compares with estimates)

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Shares of Spire Healthcare Group Plc fell 12 percent on Tuesday, after Britain’s second-largest healthcare firm trimmed core earnings forecast for the full year below analysts’ consensus.

The company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization will be between 119 million pounds ($153.15 million) and 120 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31, below estimates compiled by analysts.

Analysts had expected the company’s EBITDA to be 123.1 million pounds, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company had earlier forecast the range to be between 120 million pounds and 125 million pounds.

“This morning’s miss wasn’t entirely unexpected given the headwinds/challenges we had flagged that the business faced in hitting 2018 guidance. However, it is disappointing,” Liberum analyst Graham Doyle said, adding that there was potential for further consensus downgrades.

Core earnings at Spire fell 21 percent in the first half of 2018, driven by belt-tightening at the National Health Service that cut referrals to its big private providers.

To mitigate the hit from fewer NHS referrals, Spire said in September that it was reducing capital spending further and focusing on self-paying patients and its own general practitioners.

Shares of the company, which was founded with the acquisition and rebranding of 25 Bupa hospitals in 2007, were down 12.5 percent at 104.1 pence at 0905 GMT, wiping out about 48 million pounds off its market capitalization.

The stock lost nearly 56 percent of its value last year. ($1 = 0.7770 pounds) (Reporting by Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta)

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