Corinthian Colleges Sinks on Enrollment Forecast (COCO, APOL, STRA, LOPE, EDMC, APEI)

Source: Flickr, James Sarmiento
Corinthian Colleges Inc. (NASDAQ: COCO) reported a fourth fiscal quarter EPS loss of $0.08 and $394.78 million in sales before markets opened this morning. In the same period a year ago, the for-profit schools reported EPS of $0.04 on revenue of $396.84 million. Fourth-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.11 and $403.23 billion in revenue.

The company posted a net loss of $6.5 million mostly as the result of one-time charges for discontinued operations. On an adjusted basis, the company posted quarterly EPS of $0.10.

The company’s chairman/CEO said:

Fiscal 2012 was a year of progress against a backdrop of adapting to regulatory change. We continued to focus on student completion and achieved a slight increase in our graduate placement rate despite a weak economy.

Corinthian offered first fiscal quarter guidance for EPS of $0.03-$0.05 on revenue of $395-$405 million. Enrollment is forecast as essentially flat, at up or down 1%. The consensus estimate for the quarter called for EPS of $0.04 on revenue of $407 million.

But as with rivals Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL), Strayer Education Inc. (NASDAQ: STRA), Grand Canyon Education Inc. (NASDAQ: LOPE), Education Management Corp. (NASDAQ: EDMC), and American Public Education Inc. (NASDAQ: APEI) growth may be a thing of the past. A new regulatory environment limits the amount of federal funds to 90% of a school’s total revenue and imposes new guidelines on employment for graduates.

To compensate for flat enrollments and federal funding cuts, schools are cutting expenses, with some making large cuts in educational services. Corinthian, for example, shaved over $13 million from its educational services costs in the fourth quarter, though marketing and admissions costs were up nearly $5 million.

Corinthian’s shares are down nearly 9.5% at $2.22. The current 52-week range is $1.24-$5.21. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $3.54 before today’s results were announced.

Paul Ausick

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