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National Education Ties Loss in Part to Discontinued Unit

March 28, 1995|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — National Education Corp. said Monday that it lost $63.9 million last year but tempered the bad news by attributing the loss to discontinued operations and a onetime charge caused by a restrictive new accounting standard.

The large loss, $2.16 a share, was greater than the previous year's loss of $9.6 million, or 32 cents a share.

Revenue for the year rose almost 8% to $241.6 million after the company shut down its ailing Education Centers unit, which operated employee training programs. In 1993, the company's revenue was $224.2 million.

Company executives said that last year's loss, though far greater than the previous year's, included $49.5 million from discontinued operation of the Education Centers.

The remaining $14.5-million loss came entirely from an accounting change. Without it, National Education would have posted a $6.7-million profit for the year, said Jerome Cwiertnia, company president.

"Basically, they adopted a change in the way they accounted for advertising and promotional expenses that they had been (stretching) over 18 months," said John T. Mahoney, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates brokerage in St. Petersburg, Fla. "They had to take it all in one year, so this (loss) represents what it took to catch up."

He said he believes the decisions to accelerate the accounting change and close the training schools unit will help the company's future performance.

For the final three months, National Education reported a $4.5-million profit, or 15 cents a share, up from $2.1 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. Its revenue from continuing operations rose nearly 7% to $70.5 million from $66 million.

Wall Street apparently wasn't bothered by the results. The company's stock rose 25 cents a share Monday to close $3.375 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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