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Cigna’s First-Quarter Profit Tops Analysts’ Expectations Driven by Commercial Business

1:16 PM, May 5, 2017 — Cigna (CI), a US healthcare insurance provider, posted first-quarter earnings that were better than analysts had expected, driven by growth in new customers in its commercial business. That prompted it to raise its full-year earnings outlook.

Adjusted income from operations, which excludes some non-recurring items, was $2.77 per share, compared with $2.32 per share a year earlier, the Bloomfield, Connecticut-based company said on Friday. Analysts in a Capital IQ survey expected $2.46 per share.

Consolidated operating revenue climbed to $10.3 billion from $9.9 billion a year earlier, which beat the consensus for $10.1 billion. Revenue was powered by strong business growth in Cigna’s commercial health care and global supplemental benefits segments, which was partially offset by contraction in the seniors business, which the company said it had predicted.

Within global health care, the number of customers in the commercial business increased to 15.2 million from 14.5 million in the same quarter a year earlier, which was slightly offset by a drop in government customers to 502,000 from 615,000. Premiums and fees in the division increased 4% from a year earlier, driven by customer growth and specialty contributions, the company said.

Based on the quarter’s performance, the company raised its profit estimate for the whole year.

“We expect continued positive momentum and growth across targeted customer segments, fueled by ongoing investments in innovative products and services,” Chief Executive Officer David M. Cordani said.

For the full year, Cigna expects adjusted earnings between $9.25 and $9.75 per share, higher than a previously forecast range of $9.00 to $9.50. That compares with an average analyst estimate of $9.50. The company predicts revenue growth of 3% to 4%, rather than 2% to 3% estimated previously. The average analyst forecast is for revenue growth of 2.4%.

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