Business Report

Life Healthcare benefits from strong performance of its world-wide operations

Life Healthcare benefits from strong performance of its world-wide operations

Life Healthcare benefits from strong performance of its world-wide operations

By Sandile Mchunu Time of article published 2m ago

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DURBAN – Life Healthcare, the hospital operator, said yesterday that its trading for the first quarter to end December exceeded its expectations, boosted by the performance of its international operations.

The group’s international operations, excluding the Polish operations, which are now classified as discontinued operations, reported a 13 percent increase in revenue for the first quarter to end December, compared to the same quarter last year, and were up by 6 percent compared to the last quarter of financial year 2020.

International operations reported a 37 percent surge in normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) during the first quarter, but were up by 1 percent when compared to the last quarter of the 2020 financial year. The group’s overall revenue increased by 5percent on a like-for-like basis during the first quarter to the end of December, and revenue was up by 4percent compared to the fourth quarter of the financial year 2020.

Its normalised Ebitda continued to be impacted by the higher operational costs associated with Covid19, resulting in normalised Ebitda to decline by roughly 15 percent compared to last year.

However, normalised Ebitda for the first quarter of financial year 2021 was approximately 32 percent higher than that achieved in the last quarter of the 2020 financial year, given improving activity across the group in October and November. Life Healthcare said in its southern Africa operations paid patient days continued to increase, with occupancies for October and

November rising to 58 percent and 60 percent respectively, up from 53 percent in September.

“This was primarily driven by an increase in elective surgical cases. Theatre minutes for October and November were 90 percent of the prior year and up by 10 percent on the September theatre minutes, but occupancies were negatively impacted by the slow return of medical cases during this period,” the group said.

However, December activities were impacted by the Covid-19 second wave, with hospitals restricting and then voluntarily stopping elective surgeries to cope with the increasing number of Covid19 patients. The occupancies for December were 55.2 percent compared to 54.8 percent in December 2019, driven by the increased Covid-19 admissions.

Southern Africa revenue was marginally down by 1 percent compared to last year, but was up by 6 percent compared to the fourth quarter of the financial year 2020.

Life Healthcare shares closed 1.54 percent lower at R18.53 on the JSE yesterday

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