Roto-Rooter parent Chemed Corp. posted a lower quarterly profit as recessionary pressures hurt its plumbing business, but the company raised its 2008 earnings outlook on strong growth expectations in its Vitas hospice segment.

For the third quarter, the company reported net income of $17.9 million, or 79 cents per share, compared with $18.1 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 6 percent to $288 million.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 79 cents a share, excluding special items but including stock-based compensation, on revenue of $285.3 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Chemed said the third quarter continued to show recessionary pressure hurting the demand for certain discretionary plumbing and drain cleaning services, resulting in a 13 percent fall in call volume in Roto-Rooter's centralized call centers. However, the company expects revenue from the Vitas segment to grow 8 percent to 8.5 percent during 2008, and expects to earn $3.35 to $3.40 a share from continuing operations for the year.