AAP Finance

Healthscope HY profit skyrockets to $236m

By AAP Newswire

Healthscope's final first-half profit as a standalone company has nearly tripled on the sale of its Asian pathology business.

Australia's second largest private hospital operator, which is in the midst of a $4.5 billion takeover by Canadian investment firm Brookfield, said it made $236.6 million in profits, from $79.1 million the previous year.

The company sold its pathology business in Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam for $166.9 million in August.

Stripping out the effect of the sale, revenue for the six months to December 31 rose 3.0 per cent and net profit fell 6.7 per cent to $66.9 million on increased depreciation and amortisation costs.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 3.5 cents, fully franked, up from 3.2 cents unfranked last year.

Healthscope cited the October opening of its flagship hospital on the Northern Beaches as "complex" and "challenging" but that the project was ultimately on time, and on budget.

"Opening such a large facility has been a significant undertaking," Healthscope's chief executive Gordon Ballantyne said.

"In Northern Beaches' first hundred days we admitted more than 10,300 patients; treated more than 15,600 people in the emergency department; performed more than 3,700 surgical procedures and delivered more than 460 babies," he said.

The public-private hospital came under scrutiny soon after it opened, with staff working up to 110 hours a week, junior doctors being responsible for up to 60 patients and a lack of supervision among concerns raised.

Healthscope reported a total revenue of $1.2 billion, offset by employment expenses which rose $11.4 million from the year prior, following closure of its Geelong and Cotham hospitals in Victoria leaving about 400 people out of work.

At 1145 AEDT Healthscope shares were 0.5 cents lower, or 0.2 per cent, to $2.475.

HEALTHSCOPE'S FIRST-HALF PERFORMANCE

* Net profit $236.6m vs $79.1m

* Revenue raised $35.2m to $1.224b

* Interim dividend 3.5 cents fully franked, up from 3.2 cents unfranked