ITT Educational Services Inc. reported sizable drops in revenue and profit in its third quarter, but the results topped analyst expectations.
The Carmel-based operator of for-profit colleges on Thursday morning said it earned $18.9 million, or 80 cents per share, in the period ended Sept. 30, down from $42.9 million, or $1.83 per share, a year ago. Profit declined 56 percent on a per-share basis.
Revenue sank 18 percent, to $259.4 million.
Analysts were expecting a profit of 54 cents per share and revenue of $252 million.
ITT shares were up almost 15 percent in early trading Thursday, to $40.95 each, after closing Wednesday at $35.67.
New-student enrollment rose 5.2 percent in the period, to 20,307. However, total student enrollment was down 7 percent from a year ago, to 60,997. Revenue per student fell 7.2 percent, to $4,399.
The company raised its 2013 goal for earnings per share from the range of $3.50 to $4 to a range of $4 to $4.20.
Meanwhile, one of ITT’s biggest shareholders has been selling big chunks of its stock. Hedge fund Blum Capital Partners LP, which owns at least 10 percent of the company’s stock, sold 88,816 shares on the open market Wednesday at an average price of $34.37 for a total transaction of almost $3.1 million.
Blum sold another 237,000 shares Oct. 16 at an average price of $31.62 each. The company still owns about 1.2 million ITT shares.