A blood test which detects aggressive prostate cancer could prevent thousands of men having painful, unnecessary biopsies. Private hospital group Life Healthcare is expecting double-digit growth in earnings next year. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN - Private hospital group Life Healthcare is expecting double-digit growth in earnings next year as it focuses on efficiencies, including potentially exiting Poland, as it battles persistent low economic factors in South Africa, its home market.

In a trading statement released to the market yesterday after it presented its full-year results to end September, the group said it expected an increase of more than 20percent in earnings per share (Eps) for the six months to end March 2020.

As a result, Life Healthcare expects its Eps to increase by between 4.9cents a share and 29.4c.

During the current period, Eps increased by 62.8percent to 176.4c for the year to end September and a 9.3percent increase in revenue to R25.7billion.

Its normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased by 3.5percent to R5.7bn.

The group declared a final dividend of 53c a share, up by 6percent compared to last year's 50c. In southern Africa revenue grew by 7.1percent to R18.5bn, with international revenue rising 12.1percent to R6.9bn.

Group chief executive Dr Shrey Viranna said given the challenges in the geographies in which the group operated in, Life Healthcare was satisfied with its performance.

“To complement our growth focus, we implemented a number of efficiency programmes focusing on cost of sales management, improved procurement, capex optimisation, nursing optimisation and other administrative costs, which we expect will deliver substantial savings,” Viranna said.

Viranna said internationally the group was expanding its radiology product development business within Alliance Medical Group through Life Molecular Imaging.

Life Healthcare Eps increased by 62.4percent to 176.4c a share, while headline earnings per share (Heps) decreased by 18.5percent to 88.7c, due to the impact of the mark-to-market loss of R292million net of tax on the Max Healthcare foreign exchange option contracts, diluting Heps by 20.1c a share.

The group sold Max Healthcare during the period and received debt-reducing net cash proceeds of R3.8bn.