Australia’s largest private hospital operator, Ramsay Health Care has marked its 50th anniversary with a 14 per cent jump in net profit to $303.8 million.
Its underlying profit, which excludes one-off items, beat analysts’ expectations rising 19 per cent to $346.2 million.
Revenue and earnings increased in all Ramsay’s key global markets.
Australian and Asian earnings (before interest and tax) were up 15 per cent to $480.2 million, while the UK operations posted a solid 11 per cent rise in earnings.
However, the standout was its French business where revenue grew by 85 per cent to €323.5 million and earnings (EBIT) were also up 85 per cent to €26.2 million.
Targeting more growth globally
Chief executive Chris Rex says the company will continue on its growth strategy of focussing on hospitals, pursing public/private opportunities and making prudent acquisitions.
In June this year Ramsay acquired a controlling interest in French company Générale de Santé and its 61 hospitals.
“With the finalisation of the GdS acquisition expected in late September 2014, we look forward to becoming the premier private operator in France and integrating GdS into our global operations,” Mr Rex said.
“Our ability to manage hospitals across borders and cultures has been well demonstrated and this expertise is invaluable as we continue to canvas further opportunities in new and existing markets.”
Mr Rex forecast that the company would post profit and earnings per share growth of 14 to 16 per cent in 2015.
A fully-franked final dividend of 51 cents per share was declared, taking the full-year total payout to 75 cents per share, a 21 per cent increase on 2013.
Ramsay Health Care operates more than 200 hospitals across five countries.
It was founded 50 years ago by Paul Ramsay, who died in May leaving the bulk of his estate to charity.
At 11:45am (AEST) Ramsay Health Care shares were trading 1.3 per cent higher at $52.00.