2013 Forecasts For AMED Falling; Obama Victory Keeps Pressure On

Quarterly results for Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ:AMED) were exceptionally poor as we reported on Tuesday (here), and the follow through from analysts Wednesday morning is highly negative. Equity research reports that have been published thus far on the third quarter results, including those from Bullish analysts, all feature lower revenue and earnings expectations for 2013. We wrote that 2013 EPS estimates ($0.93 before the company reported 3Q earnings) could come down to the $0.60-$0.70 range according to the most Bearish reports, and notably Credit Suisse lowered its 2013 EPS forecast this morning to $0.77 from its prior $0.87 estimate, and Deutsche Bank cut its estimate nearly in half from $1.27 to $0.66. These new estimates validate that 2013 EPS could drop significantly from current expectations, which still remain on the optimistic side. The company guided for 4Q 2012 EPS in the range of $0.19-$0.25, and looking at the low end of that range, and current and upcoming pressures on the business, such as declining revenues, margins, new government investigations, Medicare cuts, and the restructured Humana services agreement, it’s not hard to imagine EPS dipping into the $0.60 range, still below many analyst’s expectations (Read more on the Humana (NYSE:HUM) contract). The re-election of President Obama indicates that prior Medicare cuts will go through as planned, further pressuring reimbursement within the Medicare population (currently about 90% of the company’s business). With estimates falling, but likely still above reality for next year, plus the risk of fines from investigations into billing practices, we see no reason to own shares of AMED, and the stock trading into the single digits makes sense. Expect the shares to weaken Wednesday on the negative research reports, the Obama victory, and the realization that the company is likely to miss expectations for a while.