Shares of Acadia Healthcare rose 10 percent Friday — to their highest point since mid-2016 — after the behavioral health care provider reported fourth-quarter profits and said it will grow its operations more quickly this year than in 2020.

Franklin-based Acadia posted a net loss of more than $780 million in the last three months of 2020 because it had to take an $867 million loss on its late-year sale of Priory Group, the United Kingdom business it bought in early 2016. Adjusted for that, continuing operations produced EBITDA of nearly $141 million, more than double the $65.1 million from the last three months of 2019. Revenues from the company’s U.S. facilities rose 8 percent to $541 million while adjusted EBITDA margin rose more than nine percentage points to 33.5 percent.

More growth looks likely in the future for CEO Debbie Osteen and her team: The mental health sector was already growing but effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to linger for years, Osteen told analysts and investors Friday morning. With the U.K. sale completed, Acadia — which runs about 230 facilities home to nearly 10,000 beds — now has more financial ammo to invest in various growth strategies and Osteen said Acadia should grow by its EBITDA by at least 10 percent per year through 2025.

A number of investments are already underway. Acadia in 2020 added 240 beds to existing facilities and another 220 beds via the opening of two joint venture properties. The company also opened six comprehensive treatment centers focused on opioid use disorders. This year, those numbers are forecast to grow to about 300 beds at existing facilities, 170 beds from new openings and the addition of 11 comprehensive treatment centers.

In addition to having sold their U.K. arm, Osteen and her team also have put in place cost-saving measures that will free up $20 million on an annual run.

At about 2 p.m., shares of Acadia (Ticker: ACHC) were changing hands at $56.50, up a shade more than 10 percent on the day. They last traded that high in early July of 2016, about four months after Acadia completed its acquisition of Priory.

This post originally appeared in our partner publication, the Nashville Post.

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