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Corinthian Colleges Earnings Hurt by Costs to Close Sites

For-profit higher education company Corinthian Colleges Tuesday posted a lower quarterly profit, citing costs associated with closing some of its facilities, sending shares down.

Corinthian said fiscal fourth-quarter net loss was $8.76 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a profit of $8.7 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier.

Quarterly loss from continuing operations was 3 cents for the quarter. Excluding impairment and facility closing costs and an increase in litigation reserves, Corinthian reported a profit of 4 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, had predicted earnings of 3 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

New enrollments for the quarter were up 6.3 percent year over year, however, including discontinued operations. The company said it could continue generating enrollment at that level, guiding for new student numbers to increase between 6 percent and 7 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2008.

"We believe the worst is over for this company," BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeff Silber wrote in a note to clients.

He has an "outperform" rating on the stock.

Revenue was $234.9 million, up 4.2 percent from $224.2 million.

The Santa Ana, California-based company said it expects to report first-quarter profit from continuing operations of 4 cents to 5 cents per diluted share, factoring out one-time charges.

Analysts on average predict first-quarter profit of 4 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

It expects revenue to rise 6 percent to 7 percent to a range of $243 million to $248 million, compared with analyst estimates of $244.9 million.

Corinthian's shares were down 9 cents at $13.41 in morning trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

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