Mediclinic released a trading update on Thursday
Private hospital group Mediclinic says patient hospital stays are returning to pre-Covid-19 levels, but the pandemic continues to impact its operations.
In a trading update on Thursday, Mediclinic said in the first quarter of the financial year ended 31 March 2023, its facilities had “relatively” low Covid-19 admissions. It saw a recovery to almost pre-pandemic levels in admissions for other cases.
“With pre-pandemic seasonality returning, patient volumes were also impacted in the quarter due to patients and staff contracting Covid-19,” Mediclinic said. The summer period is Mediclinic’s quieter period, and the group expects seasonality to return following eased travel restrictions.
For Southern Africa, Mediclinic continues to expect mid-single digit revenue growth for the year. Local bed days sold and patient case mix, including day case admissions, continued to “normalise” as Covid-19 hospital admissions remained low. This hit domestic revenue per paid patient day. But Mediclinic said the impact on profit margins was limited as “staffing requirements were adapted”.
At Hirslanden, Mediclinic’s Swiss operations, the hospital group saw patient numbers affected by holidays in April and July, as well as Covid-19 related disruptions. This was further compounded by additional costs due to the need for more staff to deal with absenteeism and a shortage of general nurses.
“Lower volumes and additional costs were partially offset by an encouraging insurance mix and average revenue per inpatient,” said Mediclinic.
It expects “modest growth” from its Swiss operations.
In the Middle East, hospitals saw lower year-on-year patient numbers in April, due to Ramadan, but there was a steady recovery in May and June. Mediclinic saw record outpatient volumes in June. The group expects its Middle Eastern revenue growth to be in the high-single digit percentage range.
Mediclinic is due to hold its annual general meeting on Thursday, as it weighs up an acquisition offer from a consortium made up of Johann Rupert’s Remgro and shipping group MSC.
The private hospital group’s board is in support of the consortium’s fourth offer. Mediclinic rejected the first offer of 463 pence per share (then R89) and the following two offers, saying they were too low.
An offer of 504 pence (R102) per share found board support.
But some shareholders believe they could get more, saying the fourth proposal is only almost half of Mediclinic’s 2016 share price of R210.