x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Healthy glow for NMC balance sheet with more hospitals to open

UAE healthcare provider NMC Health on Tuesday reported a 36.5 per cent jump in 2012 net profit due to higher core business revenues and reduced funding costs.

NMC Health, the London-listed healthcare provider, boosted gains across its UAE network of hospitals last year as profit surged 36.5 per cent. It made a net profit of US$59.8 million (Dh219.6m) in 2012, compared with $43.8m in the previous year.

The healthcare division generated revenues of $251.6m, a 15 per cent rise over the same period last year, the company said yesterday.

The news met with a lukewarm response from investors, with the stock trading up 1 per cent at £2.70 in afternoon London trading.

Hospital occupancy grew 7.5 per cent to 60.5 per cent over the year. NMC has six hospitals across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain, with four more set to open over the next two years.

A raft of new hospitals are under construction across the Emirates as international names such as the Cleveland Clinic enter a market characterised by a high incidence of chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Binay Shetty, the chief operating officer of NMC Health, said such competition from new arrivals was to be welcomed. “As for us it will complement our services,” he said.

NMC hospitals increased the number of doctors on its payroll last year by 10 per cent to 420 and raised revenues from specialised procedures in gynaecology and cardiology.

Hospitals and insurers in the Emirates have clashed over rising medical costs. Daman, the insurance company, estimates outpatient medical inflation has been running at an average of 26 per cent a year since 2007.

This month, Daman said 50 drugs  accounted for 40 per cent of the country’s pharmaceutical costs. It followed a move by the Government to cut the prices of more than 6,600 medicines by up to 40 per cent.

The London-based investment banking group Numis Securities has a “buy” rating on NMC Health stock, but highlighted delays in two hospital projects in a note published yesterday.

ssahoo@thenational.ae