United Health

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), provider of health insurance coverage and information technology-enabled services, posted an 11 percent increase in its revenue for the fourth quarter, as the company kept expenditures under control and its membership continues to grow.

During the fourth quarter, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) said its revenue climbed $2.9 billion to become $28.8 billion. Its full-year 2012 revenues grew by $8.8 billion (9%) to $110.6 billion.

According to the health insurer, its earnings from operations during the three months was $2.1 billion and its net earnings was $1.2 billion or $1.20 per share. UnitedHealth Group’s full year earnings from operations was $9.3 billion, and its net earnings was $5.5 billion or $5.28 per share; an 8% growth.

In a statement, Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group said, “In 2012, we continued to gain market share and broadened our revenue and earnings growth sources for the future by continuing to focus on ever-stronger execution on the fundamentals of serving our customers.”

Commenting on the financial results of the company, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) analyst, Mathew Borsch said, “The results look quite solid even though lacking the upside of prior [UnitedHealth’s] quarters.”

UnitedHealth Group said its operating cost ration in the fourth quarter was 16.9 and 15.6 for the full year 2012, both increased by 30 basis points year-over-year. According to the company, the increases in operating costs were caused by changes in business mix and investments.

According to Jason Gurda, an analyst at Leerink Swann, UnitedHealth Group’s financial performance for the period did not provide any surprises, citing the higher operating costs of the company, Gurda said, “There wasn’t a whole lot of surprises in there. They came in line with consensus on earnings.”

Based on data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, analysts expect the company to report $121.11 billion revenue and $5.55 earnings per share for the full year 2012. The consensus fourth quarter estimate was $28.2 billion revenue and $1.19 earnings per share.

During the period, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) purchased 65% of the outstanding shares of Amil Participacoes S.A. (PINK:AMPIY) for $3.5 billion. The company expects to acquire additional 25% stake of Amil during the first six months of 2013. Amil is the largest health care provider in Brazil.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) projected its revenues for 2013 to be around $123 to $124 billion, and its net earnings in the range of $5.25 to $5.50 per share.