Apria net income falls less than 1%

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Apria Healthcare Group Inc., the largest U.S. provider of home medical equipment, said profit fell less than 1% in the first full quarter since its acquisition of Coram Inc.

Lake Forest-based Apria reported first-quarter net income of $20.8 million, or 47 cents a share, compared to $20.9 million, or 47 cents, a year earlier, the company said. Profit fell short of the 50-cent-a-share estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Revenue rose 35% to $528 million, the company said.

Although Apria didn't change its full-year forecast, the company said it might have to do so because Medicare reimbursement for respiratory drugs was expected to fall $12 million short of its previous estimate. Apria has forecast revenue growth of 4.5% to 5.5% and per-share earnings of $2.04 to $2.14.

Apria's purchase of Coram for $350 million closed in December. The purchase, to expand Apria's home-infusion and specialty pharmaceutical services, was expected to be "neutral to earnings in 2008," the company said.

Apria rose 49 cents to $18.11.

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