September 28, 2017 / 12:08 PM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 2-Rite Aid revenue misses estimates, shares slump to 4-yr low

(Adds analyst comment, updates shares to open)

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Drug store operator Rite Aid Corp reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue mainly due to drop in reimbursement rates and the number of prescriptions it filled, sending its shares down 10 percent to a four-year low on Thursday.

The company posted a profit only due to a fee it got from Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc related to a failed attempt to buy its smaller rival.

Rite Aid’s total revenue fell 4.4 percent to $7.7 billion in the second quarter ended Sept. 2, just missing analysts average estimate of $7.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s revenue has now missed Wall Street’s expectation in seven of the past eight quarters. Its same-store sales fell 3.4 percent, dropping for the fifth straight quarter.

Retail pharmacy sales fell 3.4 percent in the quarter, while pharmacy services revenue dropped 8.7 percent as it participated in fewer regions offering Medicare Part D prescription drugs.

The soft pharmacy trends is a Rite Aid issue due to the length of approval for the pending acquisition by Walgreens, Mizuho Securities USA analyst Ann Hynes said.

“We continue to believe reimbursement pressures will challenge the company’s bottom line,” Hynes said.

The number of prescriptions filled in same stores, adjusted to 30-day equivalents, fell 1.8 percent, partly due to its exclusion from certain pharmacy networks, Rite Aid said

Net income rose to $170.7 million, or 16 cents per share, from $14.8 million, or 1 cent per share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included a $325 million merger termination fee.

Excluding one-time items, Rite Aid reported a loss of 1 cent per share, in line with analysts’ estimates.

Walgreens scrapped its deal to buy Rite Aid outright in June after failing to win antitrust approval, and said it would instead buy nearly half of its smaller rival’s U.S. stores, which also failed to pass regulatory muster.

Rite Aid finally got regulatory approval earlier this month to sell 1,932 stores to Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc for $4.38 billion.

Under the deal, Rite Aid also has the option of joining Walgreens’ group purchasing agreement to negotiate discounts on generic drug prices.

Rite Aid’s shares were down 10.5 percent at $2.04 in morning trading. They fell to as low as $2.01, their lowest since April 2013. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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