Acadia CEO: UK Divestiture to Propel Domestic Growth in 2021 and Beyond

Acadia Healthcare (Nasdaq: ACHC) believes the sale of its United Kingdom operations has put the company in a favorable position for the future, leaders said Friday during the provider’s Q4 and year-end 2020 earnings call. Throughout the call, the company reiterated both its focus and financial commitment to strategic growth on the homefront.

The Franklin, Tennessee-based provider of behavioral health care services officially closed on the sale of its approximately 360 UK properties to Waterland Private Equity January 19. After suspending the deal last March due to the coronavirus, Acadia entered into a definitive agreement to sell its UK operations for about $1.47 billion right before the new year.

“This transaction represents a significant milestone for Acadia, as it enables us to focus singularly on our US operations,” Acadia CEO Debbie Osteen said during the earnings call. “And we now have complete financial flexibility to pursue our strategic agenda.”


That agenda includes extending the company’s market reach and enhancing its service offerings in 2021 and beyond, she said.

Acadia is planning to add approximately 300 beds to existing facilities this year, up from 240 last year. Osteen also said that the company has “a solid pipeline of approximately 30 projects in different stages,” and is scheduled to open 4 to 5 new facilities in 2022 via joint partnerships with other providers. 

As one of the nation’s largest behavioral health providers already, those additions will complement the 227 facilities Acadia currently has across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.


“As we continue to deal with the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and other societal and economic disruptions, we are focused on our strategic priorities that will ensure our business is positioned to deliver the highest quality of care for those who need treatment, both now and into the future,” Osteen said during the call.

When it comes to offerings, Acadia appears to be looking into expanding medication assisted treatment (MAT) services, with Osteen pointing to “an unmet need” in states where the company operates. She also said that telehealth will remain a major priority in 2021, building off of momentum generated with the implementation last year of COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders in some states.

“We see telehealth as an opportunity to expand the continuum of care for patients both now and into the future,” Osteen said. “We believe increasing the utilization of our telehealth platforms will help broaden community outreach, assist with physician coverage, support increased opportunities for group therapy and encourage more timely assessment.”

Acadia’s Q4 revenue from continuing operations was $541.3 million, up from $501.2 in Q4 2019. Stockholders experienced a Q4 loss of $8.78 per diluted share, compared to $0.13 in the same quarter year-over-year. For 2020 as a whole, revenue came in at $2.089 billion, up from $2.008 billion a year earlier, while stockholders took home diluted earnings at $1.58 per share.

The Q4 2020 results take into account the loss on discontinued operations from the UK business, which Osteen said will be made up to Acadia’s shareholders in the long run.

Acadia projects Q1 2021 revenue will come in at $540 to $550 million, with quarterly diluted earnings per share expected to hit between $0.45 and $0.50. For 2021, the company estimates revenue to rise to between $2.23 billion and $2.28 billion.

Acadia leaders aren’t the only one predicting a strong future for the company, as did analysts from Jefferies in a report shared with Behavioral Health Business ahead of the call.

“We view [Acadia’s] Q4 release and Fy21 guidance very positively as they point to the company’s fundamental strength, particularly as a US-only, pure-play behavioral health provider,” the report said.

Acadia’s stock closed at $55.24 per share at the end of the trading Friday, up more than 7.5%.

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