Johannesburg - Africa’s biggest hospital group by value, Mediclinic International, reported a 10.7% rise in first-half profit as strong demand and favourable currency swings helped offset the dilutive effect of a rights offer. South Africa-based Medi-Clinic Corporation [JSE:MDC] which also operates in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, said on Tuesday diluted headline earnings per share totalled 74.2 cents in the six months to end-September compared with 67c a year earlier. Mediclinic issued R1.4bn at the time in new shares last year to fund expansion in Switzerland, where it runs the country’s biggest private hospital group. Mediclinic said revenue increased 19% to R10.4bn with sales from its overseas hospitals helped by weaker rand, which averaged 8.25 to the Swiss franc compared with an average exchange rate 6.96 a year earlier. Demand for private healthcare in South Africa has increased as a fast-growing middle class signs up for health insurance, but the slower economic growth and job losses have blunted self-funded treatments. Shares in the company, which are up about 20% so far this year, fell 1.18% to R34.35 by 12:33 GMT, lagging behind a 0.23% rise in the JSE health index .