Life Healthcare to Seek Growth in India, Africa as Profit Slows

Life Healthcare Group Holdings Ltd. (LHC), South Africa’s second-largest private-hospital owner by market value, will seek expansion opportunities in India and Africa as profit growth slows.

“Despite a tougher economic environment, the group expects to see increased demand for hospital services, and the additional growth in medical cases is expected to continue,” the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. Life Healthcare plans to add 1,000 beds in South Africa over three to four years, it said.

Net income in the six months through March increased 14.5 percent to 790 million rand ($86.4 million). Profit by the same measure climbed 25 percent a year earlier. Paid patient days rose 1.5 percent, compared with 6 percent a year earlier. Life Healthcare declared a cash dividend of 54 cents, up 20 percent.

Life Healthcare shares slid 0.5 percent to 35.62 rand at the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg yesterday, paring the stock’s gain this year to 4.8 percent. Mediclinic International Ltd. (MDC), South Africa’s largest private hospital owner by market value, has advanced 23 percent this year and Netcare Ltd. (NTC) has gained 3.3 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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