HCA Holdings 3Q results slightly below Street

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Hospital company HCA Holdings released preliminary third-quarter results Tuesday that came in slightly below Wall Street's expectations. The company also said that it plans to declare a special cash dividend of $2.50 per share in the fourth quarter.

The nation's biggest hospital operator also announced on Tuesday a proposed public debt offering of $2 billion.

HCA Holdings Inc. expects quarterly earnings of 78 cents per share on revenue of about $8.06 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet forecast earnings of 79 cents per share on revenue of $8.07 billion.

HCA said that it plans to use the net proceeds from the offering of $2 billion of senior secured and senior unsecured notes for general corporate purposes. This may include financing the dividend and repaying an existing term loan due November 2013.

The company had total long-term debt of $27.04 billion as of June 30, according to its most recent earnings filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Taking out amounts due within a year, debt was $25.73 billion.

HCA Holdings, based in Nashville, Tenn., will report its third-quarter financial results on Nov. 1. The company has seen its profits surge since being taken over in 2006 by a group that includes private equity firms Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. In August HCA reported that its second-quarter net income jumped 71 percent, while revenue rose 14 percent.

HCA owns and runs approximately 163 hospitals and approximately 109 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and London.

The company's stock added 55 cents to $32.35 in morning trading.