What happened

On Friday, big hospital and clinic operator Select Medical Holdings' (SEM 0.77%) stock price was up by roughly 20% in midafternoon trading. That was thanks to a very encouraging set of quarterly results.

So what

For Q4 2020, Select Medical's revenue rose by 6% year over year to $1.46 billion. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net profit shot 141% higher to $77.3 million ($0.57 per share).

Both figures exceeded analyst estimates, particularly the net profit. On average, they were expecting Select Medical to earn $1.41 billion in revenue, and a mere $0.26 per share in adjusted net profit.

Medical professionals conferring in a hospital lobby

Image source: Getty Images.

The big driver of Select Medical's growth was its largest business, critical illness recovery hospitals. In Q4 the unit booked nearly $538 million in revenue for a robust 18% year-over-year improvement, by far the best performance of the company's four segments.

Revenue growth was fueled, not surprisingly, by an influx of COVID-19 patients, and profitability was boosted by the federal government's Provider Relief Fund that supported healthcare companies during the pandemic.

Select Medical also proffered guidance for full-year 2021. The company expects it will earn $5.65 billion to $5.85 billion, which would be 2% to 6% higher than the 2020 tally. GAAP per-share earnings should land at $2.26 to $2.48, for growth of at least 17%.

Now what

While the coronavirus outbreak will (hopefully) subside, for the most part, relatively soon, Select Medical should remain an important company in its segment. It probably won't be posting such lofty growth numbers post-pandemic, however.