Los Angeles Business Journal

On Assignment’s Quarter Beats Forecasts

By Deborah Crowe Originally published February 14, 2012 at 9:49 a.m., updated February 14, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.

On Assignment Inc. shares rose 15 percent on Tuesday after the specialty staffing company reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results and provided guidance above analysts’ expectations.

The Calabasas company, which serves the scientific, information technology, engineering and health care industries, reported net income of $7.5 million (20 cents a share), compared with a loss of $13.7 million (-38 cents) in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue jumped 34 percent to nearly $162 million, with sales in the health care unit up 40 percent to $25.9 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected the company to report earnings of 16 cents a share on revenue of $158 million.

“Our focus on … high margin, highly valued math and science skill practices and leveraging our operating platform has enabled us to grow,” said Chief Executive Peter Dameris in a statement.

The U.S. jobs report earlier this month showed growing demand for temporary workers in an improving labor market. On Assignment said it expects to report first-quarter profit of 14 cents to 17 cents a share on a revenue of $162 million to $165 million. That’s significantly above the Wall Street consensus of 12 cents a share on revenue of $154 million.

Shares were up $1.79, or 15 percent, to $13.73 in late trading on the Nasdaq.