South African suitor for Al Noor Hospitals posts firm rise in first-half earnings

Mediclinic, a South African healthcare group that is in a three-way bidding war for Abu Dhabi-based Al Noor Hospitals, said its Switzerland and the Middle East units drove a 12 per cent rise in first half net profit.

Mediclinic made a net profit of 1.86bn rand (Dh480.2 million) in the six months ending on September 30, up from 1.68bn rand from the same period last year.

The company has agreed to a US$2.3bn reverse takeover of London-listed Al Noor Hospitals, but the London-listed NMC Health has said that it remains committed to its plans for a merger with Al Noor. Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare has until next Tuesday to make its own offer for Al Noor.

Mediclinic’s first-half revenue grew 16 per cent to 19.56bn rand, from 16.8bn rand last year. It also made gains from currency fluctuations, with its operations in Switzerland, the Middle East and Britain contributing 66 per cent to adjusted normalised earnings.

“The group continues to deliver against its key performance indicators with high levels of cash generation, growth in patient activity, stable margins and effective cost control,” said Danie Meintjes, Mediclinic’s chief executive. “This is against a market backdrop of increasing demand for our services, providing geographic expansion opportunities.”

Mediclinic this year closed a 10bn rand rights issue in August to help finance the acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in the Britain-based private firm Spire Healthcare Group for 8.7bn rand.

“With both a strengthened balance sheet via a successful rights issue, and capital investments made during the period, Mediclinic remains well positioned for future growth,” said Mr Meintjes.

VPS Healthcare, the operator of Burjeel hospitals, and NMC Health are bidding for Al Noor Hospitals because the healthcare sector in the Arabian Gulf is set for expansion.

The healthcare market in the Gulf is projected to grow 12 per cent annually to $69.4bn by 2018, from $39.4bn in 2013, according to Alpen Capital, a Dubai-based financial services advisory firm.

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