Life Healthcare Plans India, Poland Deals as African Costs Rise


Life Healthcare Group Holdings Ltd., the private hospital operator with beds in India and Poland, will make more acquisitions in those countries within six months as costs in its home market of South Africa rise.
There are deals “that we are currently working on in both Poland and India which we are hoping to complete in the second half,” Chief Executive Officer Andre Meyer said in a webcast presentation on Wednesday. Extra beds in India will be funded from existing resources and local cash flow, he said.
Life Healthcare owns 46 percent of India’s Max Healthcare Ltd., the 294-bed Scanmed Group in Poland and in February sold a stake in Durban, South Africa-based Joint Medical Holdings Ltd. The Johannesburg-based company is facing pressure on profit margins in its home market due to a weakening rand and labor costs, Meyer said, adding that the hospital operator is focused on maintaining that margin.
Earnings per share excluding one-time items fell 2.9 percent to 80.3 cents in the six months through March after the disposal of the Joint Medical Holdings stake, the company said in a statement. Revenue gained 14 percent to 7.09 billion rand ($591 million), while the dividend was raised 7.9 percent to 68 cents a share.
The shares fell as much as 5.3 percent, the most since Jan. 29 last year, and traded 2.9 percent lower at 38.49 rand as of 12:03 p.m. in Johannesburg. The stock has declined 10 percent this year, valuing the company at 40 billion rand.