Johannesburg - South Africa's second-biggest hospital group by value, Netcare [JSE:NTC], reported an above-estimates 21% rise in full-year profit on Monday as a robust performance at home offset softer growth in Britain due to unfavourable currency swings.
Netcare said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 114.2 cents, beating a 108.1c consensus estimate in a Thomson Reuters poll of seven analysts.
While demand for private healthcare has increased in South African thanks to the fast-growing middle class, stalling economic growth in Britain has blunted self-funded treatments, while a sustained strength in the rand weighed on a translation of profits from the UK.
Netcare said revenue increased 3.3% to R23.2bn.
Netcare says it embraces the renewed focus on universal health access through the national health insurance (NHI) reform policy published in August 2011 and stands ready to make a meaningful contribution.
"In preparation for NHI, all Netcare's 55 hospitals will be benchmarked against the national department of health's core standards by February 2012. As part of its quality leadership, Netcare continues its group-wide focus to drive quality care. To this end, all Netcare hospitals are benchmarked against USA hospitals," the group said.
Shares in the company are down nearly 13% so far this year, outpacing about 4.5% rise on the JSE Health Care [JSE:J540] index.
Netcare shares rose 1.2% to R13.96 on Monday morning.