Rural/Metro Corp. announced a year-over-year increase of 10 percent in revenue for its fiscal first quarter, as well as a $2.4 million increase in net income.
"We continued to demonstrate solid growth in our medical transportation and fire protection businesses," said Jack Brucker, president and chief executive officer. "We attribute the growth in revenue to a combination of increased transport volume, growth in fire protection subscriptions, and rate increases for both medical transportation and fire protection services."
The Scottsdale-based company’s stock, traded on the Nasdaq, closed Wednesday at $9.45 a share, up 6.18 percent, on volume of more than 227,000 shares. The stock’s 52-week high was $10.25.
For the quarter ending Sept. 30, Rural/Metro reported net income of $3.6 million, or 14 cents per fully diluted share, compared with $4.4 million, or 20 cents per fully diluted share, for the first quarter of its prior fiscal year.
That $3.6 million includes a $3.2 million noncash deferred income tax adjustment related to past operating losses, which totals 13 cents per fully diluted share.
It does include a one-time, $1.3 million gain on the sale of a vehicle fleet maintenance facility at the conclusion in June of Rural/Metro’s municipal fire protection contract with Scottsdale.
"For comparison purposes, if you were to exclude the non-cash tax and the 13 cents per share impact related to that, our net income ($6.8 million or 27 cents per fully diluted share) would have increased approximately 35 percent compared to the first quarter of last year," Brucker said.
Fuel prices affected quarterly operating results, with fuel expenses during the first quarter up $900,000 or 50 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.
The company reported a 7.7 percent year-over-year increase in operating expenses mostly from professional fees related to implementation and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires public companies to publish information annually on the scope and adequacy of their internal control systems with evidence that the systems can catch anything that could cause a financial misstatement.
During the quarter, the net average emergency medical service patient charge increased 6.1 percent to $337 per transport, compared with $317 during the same quarter of the previous fiscal year.
Also during the quarter, the average time it takes the company to get paid — termed "days service outstanding" — was 48 days, up three days from an average of 45 days a year ago.
"This is due to our fiscal 2005 exit from fixed-fee contracts in Scottsdale and Fort Worth, Texas," Brucker said.
During the quarter, Rural/ Metro began providing service in Salem, Ore., and in parts of New Mexico, and had contracts renewed in Colorado and Tennessee.