Netcare, which owns private hospitals in SA and the UK, was a victim of the rand strengthening against the pound over the six months to end-March, causing its revenue to decline 10% to R17bn.

A R203m profit from the sale of its old Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital along with a R665m accounting windfall for projected UK rentals helped Netcare’s interim profit jump 46% to R1.9bn.

But excluding these one-off gains, Netcare said its profit declined by 15.6% to R1bn.

Measured in pounds, its UK division grew revenue 3.2% to £458m, with National Health Services (NHS) patients accounting for 43.5% of its total caseload.

In SA, revenue grew 2.3% to R9.2bn. The revenue contribution from its South African hospitals grew 4.6% to R391m, although patient days declined by 1%.

Netcare said its hospitals suffered from a drop in patients covered by the Workmen’s Compensation Fund along with "more active case management by medical schemes".

Its proposed acquisition of Akeso Clinics’s 12 mental health facilities announced in November has been submitted to the Competition Commission for approval.

Capital expenditure in SA during this financial year is budgeted at R1.7bn, which includes the further development of its new Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital medical precinct and the expansion of Milpark Hospital, as well as maintenance and upgrade of medical equipment and the property estate.

"In the UK, the ongoing constraints faced by the NHS are expected to result in further growth in NHS-funded patients treated in private facilities and in the self-pay market," Netcare said.

Netcare maintained its interim dividend at 38c.

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