HCIA posts earnings of $679,000 for quarter

Report indicates modest gains after money-losing unit was dropped

July 17, 1999|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

HCIA Inc., the Baltimore health data company, yesterday posted earnings of $679,000, or 6 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30.

That was in line with analysts' estimates and marks a continued modest improvement in margins for HCIA, which unloaded a money-losing consulting unit in April.

The unit not only produced a drag on operating earnings, but also had contributed to losses through restructuring charges.

For the corresponding three months last year, the company posted net earnings of $69,000. Excluding the discontinued unit, income was $288,000, or 2 cents a share.

Revenue in the 1999 quarter was essentially flat at $16.7 million, up 1.8 percent from $16.4 million on continuing operations in the year-earlier quarter.

In its earnings announcement, the company said it is continuing to explore "strategic alternatives," which could include a sale of the company, a partnership, another type of deal or a decision to continue the business in its current form.

"We are continuing to explore and review various alternatives, but we are not in a position to comment further on that process," said George D. Pillari, chairman and chief executive officer.

"We will provide further information when it is appropriate to do so," Pillari said.

The company has about 185 employees at its Baltimore headquarters and 480 nationally. HCIA has retained Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown to assist in reviewing its options.

Pillari said HCIA would ordinarily have posted results later in July, but "we determined, given the company's decision to explore strategic alternatives and that we had completed our financial review for the second quarter, that we should promptly announce our second-quarter results."

HCIA stock closed yesterday at $10.25 a share, down 65.625 cents.

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