Investors pumped up the stock of Life Time Fitness nearly 2 percent Thursday after the big health club chain reported more than 10 percent revenue growth for the fourth quarter, slightly above Wall Street expectations.But CEO Bahram Akradi told analysts faster growth will likely take another year.
Life Time shares rose 1.9 percent, or 81 cents, to close at $42.08. Analysts are bullish on the stock, with six of the 11 who cover the company recommending a "buy" rating. Life Time Fitness earned $23.4 million, or 56 cents a share, for the fourth quarter, slightly exceeding the Wall Street consensus of 55 cents. A year ago, the company earned $19.8 million, or 48 cents a share.
Fourth-quarter revenue was $275.3 million, up 9.7 percent.
In the fourth quarter, revenue from health clubs rose 12.5 percent, while membership dues rose 7.6 percent, the firm said.
For the year, the company earned $111.5 million, or $2.66 a share, in line with Wall Street forecasts. A year earlier, it earned $92.6 million, or $2.26 a share.
Full-year revenue was $1.1 billion, up 11.2 percent.
Life Time plans to open three new clubs this year — in Alabama, Virginia and New Jersey. Initial plans are to open six new clubs in 2014.