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Netcare profit up 26%

Nov 15 2010 09:05 Reuters

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Johannesburg - Netcare [JSE:NTC], South Africa's largest hospital group, reported a 26% rise in full-year profit, helped by a robust performance at its South African unit, where it remains optimistic about the outlook.

Netcare, which also runs hospitals in Britain, was fined R7.8m last week after admitting it unlawfully acquired and transplanted kidneys at a South African hospital earlier in the decade.

The company said headline earnings per share totalled 98.7 cents in the year to end-September compared with 78.2 cents a year ago.

Demand for private healthcare in South Africa has increased in recent years as a fast-growing middle class signs up for health insurance, but recessions in both South Africa and Britian have hit self-funded treatments.

Netcare said revenue fell 3.3% to R22.4bn hit by the strong rand currency, which eroded earnings from overseas when brought home.

The rand has gained around 30% since the start of the 2009.

Netcare said it was upbeat about sustained demand in South Africa in the medium and long term while recession-hit consumers in Britain are expected to scale back self-pay spending.

Shares in Netcare have gained around 13% so far this year, largely in line with rival Medi-Clinic Corporation [JSE:MDC] and slightly outperforming Life Healthcare Group Holdings [JSE:LHC].
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