- Community Health Systems has hired financial advisors to help restructure the company's debt, which ran at about $13.8 billion at the end of 2017.
- The news comes as the hospital operator came off a weak 2017, compared to 2016. Net revenues dropped 31.6% to $3 billion and net losses increased to $2.46 in 2017, compared with a loss of $1.72 billion in 2016.
- CHS has been selling off assets, shedding about 30 hospitals last year. The company is continuing its divestiture plans. "The company is pursuing these interests for sale transactions involving hospitals with a combined total of approximately $2 billion in annual net operating revenues," CHS said in its most recent earnings filing.
"During the fourth quarter, we completed our 2017 announced divestiture plan and we intend to continue to optimize our portfolio in 2018 to help pay down debt and refine our portfolio to stronger markets," CEO Wayne Smith said in a statement.
In August, ASL Strategic Value Fund called for Smith's removal, saying management's missteps "have resulted in billions of dollars of shareholder losses."
CHS isn't the only big hospital chain facing angry shareholders, a big debt load and restructuring. Tenet executive chairman Ronald Rittenmeyer raised the number of company layoffs from 1,300 to 2,000 in efforts to reduce its debt load. It's also in the process of selling Conifer, its revenue cycle arm. Long-time former CEO Trevor Fetter stepped down last October, sooner than expected amid a broad management shake-up.
Tenet increased its 2018 guidance and disclosed $4.97 billion in net operating revenue in Q4, a 2.4% increase over the same time period in 2016. The Dallas-based hospital operator's stock has been trending upward in the last month but on Friday opened lower than close of business on Thursday, at $24.87 per share.
CHS' stock took a dive this week. Stock opened 6.8% lower on Friday than open of business on Monday, opening at $4.55 per share.
In the March 15 SEC filing disclosing the hire of advisers, the company said it had a four-point plan to move the company forward:
- Gain market share by increasing volumes and growing revenues;
- Increase productivity and operating efficiency to enhance profitability;
- Improve patient safety and quality of care; and
- Rationalize portfolio through select divestitures.
Correction: This article had originally misidentified that Wellington Management had sold its 7.12% stake in CHS stock.