A filing with the SEC has disclosed that Glenview Capital now owns close to 34 million shares of Health Management Associates, Inc. (NYSE:HMA), a $2.3 billion market cap hospital operator. This gives the fund, which is managed by former Omega Advisors trader Larry Robbins, over 13% of the outstanding shares of the stock. According to its 13F for the third quarter of 2012, Glenview had owned about 26 million shares and this in turn had been up 47% from three months earlier; the fund was overweight the healthcare sector at the end of September. See the full list of Glenview's stock picks.
In the third quarter of the year, net revenue was up 18% compared to the same period in 2011. This is roughly the same growth rate Health Management Associates, Inc. had been experiencing in the first half of the year. However, costs have also been up strongly and so net income has been down, though the rate of decline was low last quarter. At the current market price the trailing P/E is 16, which is moderately low but should be accompanied by at least modest growth or strong prospects for improvement. Clearly Glenview is in that camp, and it’s also notable that in mid-December a company insider bought 10,000 shares at an average price of $7.76 per share (read more about the insider purchase). We track insider purchases because they indicate that an insider is confident enough in the company to ignore the benefits of diversification; studies show that stocks bought the insiders beat the market on average (though not always) (learn more about studies on insider trading).
Analyst consensus is also bullish, with consensus for 2013 being 89 cents of earnings per share; this would imply a forward P/E of 10. Glenview was by far the largest hedge fund holder of Health Management Associates, Inc. at the end of last quarter in our database of 13F filings, though Carlson Capital and billionaire David Shaw’s D.E. Shaw were buying the stock.