Climbing enrollment boosts ITT profit-WEB ONLY

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ITT Educational Services Inc. hurdled over analysts’ estimates with its first-quarter profit and raised its 2009 profit forecast by 50 cents per share, the company announced this morning.

The Carmel-based operator of career and technical schools boosted profits 45 percent, to nearly $62 million, in the three months ended March 31, compared with the same period last year.

It earned $1.59 per diluted share, compared with the $1.41 expected by Wall Street analysts, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. A year ago, ITT Educational earned $1.08 per share in the first quarter.

ITT Educational is benefiting from a wave of new students as laid-off workers take classes to pick up new skills. New-student enrollment surged 37 percent in the quarter, to 18,935.

Total student enrollment now stands at 65,620, up 21 percent since the same period last year.
Those numbers drove up revenue by nearly 23 percent in the quarter, to $288 million, over the same period a year ago.

“As we entered the second quarter of 2009, the interest in our programs of study remained incredibly strong,” said ITT CEO Kevin Modany in a statement. “The prospective students recognize the importance of learning new, and upgrading existing, skills in order to improve their career prospects.”

ITT Educational Services now predicts it will earn full-year profits from $7 to $7.25 per share, an increase from its earlier forecast of $6.50 to $6.75 per share.

ITT also reported today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Daniel Webster College, a school with 1,200 students at its main campus in Nashua, N.H., and a secondary location in Plymouth, N.H.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but ITT said the acquisition wouldn’t have a material effect on its financial condition. The deal is expected to close in early July.

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