Centene Corporation Reports 2009 Third Quarter Earnings

October 27, 2009 at 6:01 AM EDT

-- Company Updates Full Year 2009 EPS Guidance to $1.91-$1.97 --

-- Premium and Service Revenue Growth of 18.1% --

-- Strong Cash Flow Generation of $115 Million --

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 27, 2009-- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) today announced its net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 were $22.7 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, compared to $18.1 million, or $0.41 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2008. The results of operations for our New Jersey health plan, University Health Plans, are classified as discontinued operations. The discussions below, with the exception of cash flow information, are in the context of continuing operations and all financial ratios are calculated using revenues excluding premium taxes and investment income.

Third Quarter Highlights

  • Quarter-end managed care at-risk membership of 1,386,400, an increase of 215,300 lives year over year.
  • Premium and Service revenues of $987.3 million, representing 18.1% year over year growth.
  • Health Benefits Ratio (HBR) of 83.7%.
  • General and Administrative (G&A) expense ratio of 13.2%.
  • Cash flow from operations of $114.9 million.
  • Days in claims payable of 47.1.
  • Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.51, compared to $0.41 in the third quarter of 2008. Earnings per diluted share in 2008 included a $0.06 loss on investments from the Primary Reserve fund.

Other Events

  • On August 31, 2009, Centene announced that the State of Massachusetts had accepted its proposal to manage healthcare services for the Commonwealth Bridge Program through its subsidiary, CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts, effective October 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.
  • Effective September 1, 2009, Centene converted 62,100 members in Florida from Access Health Solutions to at-risk under our Sunshine State Health Plan.
  • On October 24, 2009, Centene announced a settlement agreement with Amerigroup Corporation associated with the sale of our New Jersey health plan. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the parties will move forward with the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval and expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010.
  • In August 2009, Jason Harrold, president and CEO of OptiCare Managed Vision, Inc. was appointed to Senior Vice President of Centene’s Specialty Business Unit. Mr. Harrold assumed the leadership role over the specialty companies previously held by William Scheffel.
  • On October 26, 2009 our Board of Directors approved an extension of our stock repurchase program.

Michael F. Neidorff, Centene’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased with the ability of our team to deliver solid results across Centene's products and markets in a challenging economic environment.”

The following table depicts membership in Centene’s managed care organizations, by state, at September 30, 2009 and 2008:

  September 30,
2009   2008
Arizona 17,400
Florida 84,400
Georgia 303,400 283,900
Indiana 200,700 172,400
Massachusetts 500
Ohio 151,200 132,500
South Carolina 46,100 26,600
Texas 450,200 433,200
Wisconsin 132,500 122,500
Total at-risk membership 1,386,400 1,171,100
Non-risk membership 63,200* 3,700
Total 1,449,600 1,174,800
______________________________

* Increase mainly due to consolidation of our Access Health Solutions LLC investment, effective January 1, 2009.

The following table depicts membership in Centene’s managed care organizations, by member category, at September 30, 2009 and 2008:

  September 30,
2009   2008
Medicaid 1,040,500 850,500
CHIP & Foster Care 263,400 261,800
ABD & Medicare 82,500 58,800
Total at-risk membership 1,386,400 1,171,100
Non-risk membership 63,200 3,700
Total 1,449,600 1,174,800

Statement of Operations

  • For the third quarter of 2009, Premium and Service Revenues increased 18.1% to $987.3 million from $835.7 million in the third quarter of 2008. The increase was primarily driven by premium rate increases and membership growth in all states, including the commencement of our Arizona acute care contract in October 2008, the consolidation of Access and conversion of members to our at-risk plan in Florida.
  • The consolidated HBR, which reflects medical costs as a percent of premium revenues, was 83.7%. A reconciliation of the change in HBR from the prior year same period and from the immediately preceding quarter is presented below:
   
Q3:2009 vs. Q3:2008 Q3:2009 vs. Q2:2009
Third Quarter 2008 82.2 % Second Quarter 2009 83.1 %
Decrease in Texas CHIP/Perinate rates 1.0 New markets reserved at higher rates 0.1
Impact of additional costs related to the flu 0.5 Impact of additional costs related to the flu 0.3
Pass-through payments 0.1 Pass-through payments 0.1
Net change in other markets (0.1 ) Net change in other markets 0.1  
Third Quarter 2009 83.7 % Third Quarter 2009 83.7 %

The increase in the third quarter of 2009 over the comparable period in 2008 was due to the March 1, 2009 rate decrease for our CHIP/Perinate product in Texas which brought the HBR more in line with our normal range and the impact of additional costs related to the flu. We also experienced improvements in our ABD product, particularly in Ohio, which was mostly offset by the impact of changes in rates and benefit structures in other markets. Sequentially, the increase in the HBR reflects the impact of additional costs related to the flu along with the effect of reserving at higher rates for new markets and receiving pass-through payments which increase the HBR ratio.

  • Consolidated G&A expense as a percent of premium and service revenues was 13.2% in the third quarter of 2009, a decrease from 14.2% in the third quarter of 2008. The reduction in the G&A ratio between years reflects improved leveraging of our costs over a higher revenue base and the impact of additional revenue from new business (Arizona Acute Care, Florida and South Carolina).
  • Earnings per diluted share from continuing operations were $0.51, compared to $0.41 in the third quarter of 2008. Earnings per diluted share in 2008 included a $0.06 loss on investments from the Primary Reserve fund.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

At September 30, 2009, the Company had cash and investments of $939.0 million, including $911.4 million held by its regulated entities and $27.6 million held by its unregulated entities. Medical claims liabilities totaled $411.0 million, representing 47.1 days in claims payable, a decrease of 0.4 days from June 30, 2009. Total debt was $277.3 million and debt to capitalization was 31.9%. Year to date cash flow from operations was $177.0 million.

A reconciliation of the Company’s change in days in claims payable from the immediately preceding quarter-end is presented below:

Days in claims payable, June 30, 2009   47.5
Payment of annual provider bonuses (0.7)
Impact of Florida expansion 0.3
Days in claims payable, September 30, 2009 47.1

Outlook

The table below depicts the Company’s annual guidance from continuing operations for 2009:

  Full Year 2009
Low   High
Premium and Service revenues (in millions) $ 3,850 $ 3,900
Earnings per diluted share $ 1.91 $ 1.97

Stock Repurchase Authorization

On October 26, 2009, the Company’s Board of Directors extended the Company’s stock repurchase program. The program authorizes the repurchase of up to 4,000,000 shares of the Company’s common stock from time to time on the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. No duration has been placed on the repurchase program and we reserve the right to discontinue the repurchase program at any time.

Conference Call

As previously announced, the Company will host a conference call Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at 8:30 A.M. (Eastern Time) to review the financial results for the second quarter ended September 30, 2009, and to discuss its business outlook. Michael F. Neidorff and William N. Scheffel will host the conference call. Investors and other interested parties are invited to listen to the conference call by dialing 800-273-1254 in the U.S. and Canada, 973-638-3440 from abroad, or via a live Internet broadcast on the Company's website at www.centene.com, under the Investor Relations section. A replay will be available for on-demand listening shortly after the completion of the call until 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, at the aforementioned URL, or by dialing 800-642-1687 in the U.S. and Canada, or 706-645-9291 from abroad, and entering access code 30957978.

About Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation is a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to individuals receiving benefits under Medicaid, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care, Long-Term Care and Medicare (Special Needs Plans). The Company operates local health plans and offers a wide range of health insurance solutions to individuals and the rising number of uninsured Americans. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health, life and health management, managed vision, telehealth services, pharmacy benefits management and medication adherence. Information regarding Centene is available via the Internet at www.centene.com.

The information provided in this press release contains forward-looking statements that relate to future events and future financial performance of Centene. Subsequent events and developments may cause the Company’s estimates to change. The Company disclaims any obligation to update this forward-looking financial information in the future. Readers are cautioned that matters subject to forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause Centene’s or its industry’s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ from projections or estimates due to a variety of important factors, including Centene’s ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses, competition, changes in healthcare practices, changes in federal or state laws or regulations, inflation, provider contract changes, new technologies, reduction in provider payments by governmental payors, major epidemics, disasters and numerous other factors affecting the delivery and cost of healthcare. The expiration, cancellation or suspension of Centene’s Medicaid Managed Care contracts by state governments would also negatively affect Centene.

[Tables Follow]

   

CENTENE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

 

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In thousands, except share data)

(Unaudited)

 
September 30,

2009

December 31,

2008

ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents of continuing operations $ 389,135 $ 370,999
Cash and cash equivalents of discontinued operations   4,847   8,100  
Total cash and cash equivalents 393,982 379,099
Premium and related receivables, net of allowance for uncollectible accounts of $19 and $595, respectively 104,798 92,531
Short-term investments, at fair value (amortized cost $45,332 and $108,469, respectively) 45,692 109,393
Other current assets 61,294 75,333
Current assets of discontinued operations other than cash   8,292   9,987  
Total current assets 614,058 666,343
Long-term investments, at fair value (amortized cost $475,078 and $329,330, respectively) 486,889 332,411
Restricted deposits, at fair value (amortized cost $17,177 and $9,124, respectively) 17,286 9,254
Property, software and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation of $96,314 and $74,194, respectively 209,920 175,858
Goodwill 219,100 163,380
Intangible assets, net 23,454 17,575
Other long-term assets 37,100 59,083
Long-term assets of discontinued operations   27,207   27,248  
Total assets $ 1,635,014   $ 1,451,152  
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Medical claims liability $ 410,997 $ 373,037
Accounts payable and accrued expenses 204,411 219,566
Unearned revenue 68,024 17,107
Current portion of long-term debt 645 255
Current liabilities of discontinued operations   23,846   31,013  
Total current liabilities 707,923 640,978
Long-term debt 276,687 264,637
Other long-term liabilities 55,992 43,539
Long-term liabilities of discontinued operations   1,155   726  
Total liabilities 1,041,757 949,880
 
Commitments and contingencies
 
Stockholders’ equity:
Common stock, $.001 par value; authorized 100,000,000 shares; issued and outstanding 45,402,369 and 45,071,179 shares, respectively 45 45
Additional paid-in capital 277,709 263,835
Accumulated other comprehensive income:
Unrealized gain on investments, net of tax 7,812 3,152
Retained earnings 335,192 275,236
Treasury stock, at cost (2,373,893 and 2,083,415 shares, respectively)   (46,497 ) (40,996 )
Total Centene stockholders’ equity 574,261 501,272
Noncontrolling interest   18,996    
Total stockholders’ equity   593,257   501,272  
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity $ 1,635,014   $ 1,451,152  
   

CENTENE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(In thousands, except share data)

(Unaudited)

 
Three Months Ended

September 30,

Nine Months Ended

September 30,

2009   2008 2009   2008
Revenues:  
Premium $ 960,009 $ 817,740 $ 2,754,713 $ 2,338,550
Service   27,300   17,962   72,740   56,958
Premium and service revenues 987,309 835,702 2,827,453 2,395,508
Premium tax   50,925   22,897   182,685   66,249
Total revenues   1,038,234   858,599   3,010,138   2,461,757
Expenses:
Medical costs 803,062 671,920 2,298,108 1,932,172
Cost of services 15,843 12,854 46,364 43,467
General and administrative expenses 130,024 118,628 381,524 323,391
Premium tax   51,295   23,284   183,785   66,636
Total operating expenses   1,000,224   826,686   2,909,781   2,365,666
Earnings from operations 38,010 31,913 100,357 96,091
Other income (expense):
Investment and other income 3,750 2,708 11,781 15,724
Interest expense   (4,064 )   (4,377 )   (12,210 )   (12,436 )
Earnings from continuing operations, before income tax expense 37,696 30,244 99,928 99,379
Income tax expense   12,426   12,145   35,060   38,464
Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax expense 25,270 18,099 64,868 60,915
Discontinued operations, net of income tax (benefit) expense of $(792), $242, $(1,148) and $390, respectively   (1,460 )   149   (2,394 )   1,159
Net earnings 23,810 18,248 62,474 62,074
Noncontrolling interest   2,542     2,518  
Net earnings attributable to Centene Corporation $ 21,268 $ 18,248 $ 59,956 $ 62,074
 
Amounts attributable to Centene Corporation common shareholders:
Earnings from continuing operations, net of income tax expense $ 22,728 $ 18,099 $ 62,350 $ 60,915
Discontinued operations, net of income tax (benefit) expense   (1,460 )   149   (2,394 )   1,159
Net earnings $ 21,268 $ 18,248 $ 59,956 $ 62,074
 
Net earnings (loss) per share attributable to Centene Corporation:
Basic:
Continuing operations $ 0.53 $ 0.42 $ 1.45 $ 1.40
Discontinued operations   (0.04 )     (0.06 )   0.03
Earnings per common share $ 0.49 $ 0.42 $ 1.39 $ 1.43
Diluted:
Continuing operations $ 0.51 $ 0.41 $ 1.41 $ 1.37
Discontinued operations   (0.03 )     (0.05 )   0.02
Earnings per common share $ 0.48 $ 0.41 $ 1.36 $ 1.39
 
Weighted average number of shares outstanding:
Basic

43,001,870

43,232,941

43,023,431 43,381,819
Diluted 44,291,604

44,530,347

44,247,153 44,541,424
 

CENTENE CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

 

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(In thousands)

 
Nine Months Ended September 30,
2009   2008
 
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net earnings $ 62,474 $ 62,074
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by operating activities
Depreciation and amortization 30,800 26,018
Stock compensation expense 11,428 11,576
Loss on sale of investments, net 261 4,923
Deferred income taxes 4,516 13,987
Changes in assets and liabilities —
Premium and related receivables (381 ) (50,797 )
Other current assets (2,595 ) (6,422 )
Other assets (593 ) (713 )
Medical claims liabilities 31,612 28,109
Unearned revenue 54,725 (37,931 )
Accounts payable and accrued expenses (17,656 ) 74,723
Other operating activities   2,386   967
Net cash provided by operating activities   176,977   126,514
Cash flows from investing activities:
Capital expenditures (42,696 ) (52,588 )
Purchases of investments (647,086 ) (372,221 )
Sales and maturities of investments 546,640 356,367
Investments in acquisitions, net of cash acquired, and investment in equity method investee   (31,533 )  

(83,509

)
Net cash used in investing activities   (174,675 )   (151,951 )
Cash flows from financing activities:
Proceeds from exercise of stock options 1,717 4,770
Proceeds from borrowings 468,500 152,005
Payment of long-term debt (456,059 ) (109,410 )
Distributions to noncontrolling interest (3,171 )
Contribution from noncontrolling interest 7,495
Excess tax benefits from stock compensation 43 3,016
Common stock repurchases (5,539 ) (18,244 )
Debt issue costs   (405 )  
Net cash provided by financing activities   12,581   32,137
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents   14,883   6,700
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period   379,099   268,584
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $ 393,982 $ 275,284
 
Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information:
Interest paid $ 8,556 $ 8,467
Income taxes paid $ 43,308 $ 28,370
 
Supplemental disclosure of non-cash investing and financing activities:
Contribution from noncontrolling interest $ 5,491 $
       

CENTENE CORPORATION

 

CONTINUING OPERATIONS SUPPLEMENTAL FINANCIAL DATA

 
Q3 Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3
2009 2009 2009 2008 2008
MEMBERSHIP
Managed Care:
Arizona 17,400 16,200 15,500 14,900
Florida 84,400 22,300 29,100
Georgia 303,400 292,800 289,300 288,300 283,900
Indiana 200,700 196,100 179,100 175,300 172,400
Massachusetts 500
Ohio 151,200 141,200 137,000 133,400 132,500
South Carolina 46,100 46,000 48,500 31,300 26,600
Texas 450,200 443,200 421,100 428,000 433,200
Wisconsin 132,500   131,200   127,700   124,800   122,500  
Total at-risk membership 1,386,400   1,289,000   1,247,300   1,196,000   1,171,100  
Non-risk membership 63,200   114,000   96,000   3,700   3,700  
TOTAL 1,449,600   1,403,000   1,343,300   1,199,700   1,174,800  
 
Medicaid 1,040,500 958,600 921,100 877,400 850,500
CHIP & Foster Care 263,400 261,400 256,900 257,300 261,800
ABD & Medicare 82,500   69,000   69,300   61,300   58,800  
Total at-risk membership 1,386,400   1,289,000   1,247,300   1,196,000   1,171,100  
Non-risk membership 63,200   114,000   96,000   3,700   3,700  
TOTAL 1,449,600   1,403,000   1,343,300   1,199,700   1,174,800  
 
Specialty Services(a):
Cenpatico Behavioral Health
Arizona 117,300 110,500 104,700 105,000 102,400
Kansas 41,000 41,100 40,600 41,100 40,100
Bridgeway Health Solutions
Long-term Care 2,500   2,400   2,300   2,100   1,900  
TOTAL 160,800   154,000   147,600   148,200   144,400  
 
(a) Includes external membership only.
 
REVENUE PER MEMBER(b) $ 222.77 $ 219.75 $ 220.29 $ 218.52 $ 213.28
 
CLAIMS(b)
Period-end inventory

414,900

 

362,200

 

325,000

 

269,300

 

323,200

 

Average inventory 227,100 234,500 267,600 288,600 298,400
Period-end inventory per member 0.30 0.28 0.26 0.23 0.28
 
 
(b) Revenue per member and claims information are presented for the Managed Care at-risk members.
 

Q3

Q2 Q1 Q4 Q3
2009 2009 2009 2008 2008
 
DAYS IN CLAIMS PAYABLE (c) 47.1 47.5 45.3 48.5 47.9
(c) Days in Claims Payable is a calculation of Medical Claims Liabilities at the end of the period divided by average claims expense per calendar day for such period.
 
CASH AND INVESTMENTS (in millions)
Regulated $ 911.4 $ 825.8 $ 816.8 $ 798.0 $ 692.6
Unregulated   27.6   27.0   28.9   24.1     26.8  
TOTAL $ 939.0 $ 852.8 $ 845.7 $ 822.1   $ 719.4  
 
DEBT TO CAPITALIZATION(d) 31.9 % 33.0 % 34.6 % 34.6% 34.4 %
(d) Debt to Capitalization is calculated as follows: total debt divided by (total debt + total equity).
   

OPERATING RATIOS:

 
Three Months Ended

September 30,

Nine Months Ended

September 30,

2009     2008 2009     2008
Health Benefits Ratios:
Medicaid and CHIP 84.7 % 81.3 % 84.4 % 80.7 %
ABD and Medicare 81.1 88.1 81.7 91.4
Specialty Services 80.5 79.9 79.6 82.9
Total 83.7 82.2 83.4 82.6
 
General & Administrative Expense Ratio 13.2 % 14.2 % 13.5 % 13.5 %
 

MEDICAL CLAIMS LIABILITY (In thousands)
Four rolling quarters of the changes in medical claims liability are summarized as follows:

 

 
Balance, September 30, 2008 $ 349,502
Acquisitions
Incurred related to:
Current period 3,051,905
Prior period   (45,634 )
Total incurred   3,006,271  
Paid related to:
Current period 2,654,707
Prior period   290,069  
Total paid   2,944,776  
Balance, September 30, 2009 $ 410,997  

Centene’s claims reserving process utilizes a consistent actuarial methodology to estimate Centene’s ultimate liability. Any reduction in the “Incurred related to: Prior period” amount may be offset as Centene actuarially determines “Incurred related to: Current period.” As such, only in the absence of a consistent reserving methodology would favorable development of prior period claims liability estimates reduce medical costs. Centene believes it has consistently applied its claims reserving methodology in each of the periods presented.

The amount of the “Incurred related to: Prior period” above includes the effects of reserving under moderately adverse conditions, new markets where we use a conservative approach in setting reserves during the initial periods of operations, increased receipts from other third party payors related to coordination of benefits and lower medical utilization and cost trends for dates of service prior to September 30, 2008.

Source: Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation
Investor Relations Inquiries
Edmund E. Kroll, Jr., 212-759-0382
Senior Vice President, Finance & Investor Relations
or
Media Inquiries
Deanne Lane, 314-725-4477
Senior Director, Media Affairs