Picture: 123RF/HXDBZXY
Picture: 123RF/HXDBZXY

Netcare, SA’s third-largest private hospital operator by market value, has reinstated a dividend after managing to further reduce the length of stay for Covid-19 patients through what it said was evolving treatment regimens and effective bed allocation.

While there was a substantial increase in Covid-19 admissions during the third wave, only 52% of beds were allocated to Covid-19 patients at the peak, down from 60% in the second wave and 80% in the first wave, Netcare said in a results statement on Monday.

The group declared a dividend of 34c per share in the year to end-September, after none was declared a year ago due to uncertainty over the pandemic.

Private hospital operator Netcare has resumed dividend payments with a final payout of 34c per share for its 2021 financial year as the group's operations have recovered from the initial impact of Covid-19. Alishia Seckam caught up with Netcare CEO Richard Friedland for more insight on the health of the firm's balance sheet as SA eyes a possible fourth Covid-19 wave.

The share rose as much as 4.47% before pulling back to trade 1.60% higher at R15.90 by midday.

The pandemic has hit SA’s private hospitals hard, with many patients deferring elective surgeries.

Netcare said the outlook for its 2022 financial year depended on the evolution of the pandemic.

“The possibility of further waves of Covid-19 still exists. In the absence of new highly transmissible and virulent variants of the virus, we expect a reduction in severity of such potential waves,” it said in a statement.

Its adjusted headline earnings per share surged 107.4% to 67.4c during the review period. Normalised earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was up 24.8%, with ebitda margin improving to 15.2% from 13.6%.

mahlangua@businesslive.co.za

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