Extendicare fourth quarter profits triple despite lower sales

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Extendicare Inc., one of the largest skilled nursing chains in North America, more than tripled its profits in the fourth quarter, despite lower sales. The company benefited from a $66.8 million cash dividend from Crown Life Insurance Company during the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Extendicare, which is based in Markham, Ontario, said profits for the three-month period rose to (Canadian) $59 million, compared to (Canadian) $17 million at the end of the fourth quarter last year. Revenue declined by (Canadian) $5.6 million to (Canadian) $426 million during the 2004 fourth quarter, in part due to the negative impact of the stronger Canadian dollar. Nursing home occupancy, on a same-facility basis, rose during the quarter to 92.7%.

For the year ended Dec. 31, Extendicare's earnings doubled to (Canadian) $125 million on higher revenues.

"This past year was a successful one for Extendicare, driven by the strength of our sales approach to Medicare census in the U.S. and the steady performance of our Canadian operations," said Mel Rhinelander, the company's president and CEO.