Why Air Methods Shares Lifted Off


Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of air medical transportation company Air Methods (NAS: AIRM) are cleared for take-off today after reporting preliminary second-quarter earnings results which exceeded its previous guidance. Shares were up as much as 16% earlier in the trading session.

So what: For the quarter, Air Methods is forecasting earnings of $2.30-$2.40 per share, as compared to the $0.77 in earned last year, and the $1.59 Wall Street had been expecting. Air Methods attributed the rapid jump in EPS to growth in same-base transports, improved reimbursement for community-based transports, and lower maintenance costs per flight hour. Total community-based patient transports increased by 47% and were aided almost entirely by the acquisition of OF Air Holdings in August 2011, with net revenue rising 18% in the segment.

Now what: Niche service stocks are great, and Air Methods is just another example. The transport services Air Methods provides are a near necessity and aren't really affected by macroeconomic issues. Also, with high barriers to entry and little competition, Air Methods should maintain significant pricing power. One thing not to read into too much is the organic community-based patient transport growth which was only 3%, not including the OF Air transaction. However, it's hard to ignore the magnitude of the earnings beat. Needless to say, it's an interesting company that could be worth further research.

Craving more input? Start by adding Air Methods to your free and personalized Watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

The article Why Air Methods Shares Lifted Off originally appeared on Fool.com.

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