April 26 (Reuters) - Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp issued lower preliminary first-quarter earnings on Thursday and said bad debt rose, sending its shares down 6 percent.
It also said it was repurchasing $299 million in mandatory convertible preferred stock.
Tenet said it expects to report first-quarter earnings of $58 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with $73 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.
Tenet said revenue rose 2.2 percent to $2.35 billion but that total admissions were flat and that bad debt, or bills not expected to be paid, rose 6 percent to $193 million.
The company raised its 2012 outlook for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by $25 million and now expects $1.25 billion to $1.37 billion.
The forecast includes an increase in estimates of a Medicare settlement and risk related to potential termination of a contract with a large national commercial managed care payer, the company said.
CRT Capital Group analyst Sheryl Skolnick said if you exclude settlement dollars and fees and look at core earnings, the results in what has typically been a strong quarter for the company are well below her expectations. "So it looks like EBITDA missed," she said.
Skolnick called the share buyback "the good news."
Tenet shares were down 6 percent at $5.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.