MAINBOARD-LISTED IHH Healthcare Berhad on Thursday reported a 37 per cent jump in its first-quarter net profit to RM235.5 million (S$79.5 million), against a lower base in the corresponding period a year ago when RM116.4 million in exchange losses on Acibadem Holdings' non-Turkish lira borrowings had been recognised, compared to exchange loss of RM5.8 million in Q1 2016.
Excluding exceptional items and the contribution from PLife Reit (real estate investment trust) in which IHH has a 35.8 per cent indirect stake, operational profit after tax and minority interests (Patmi) grew a steady 4 per cent to RM223.8 million.
Earnings per share for the quarter came in at 2.86 sen, up 36 per cent.
Revenue rose 24 per cent to RM2.5 billion on sustained organic growth at existing hospitals across all home markets and the continued ramp up of newer hospitals.
IHH said the acquisition of Continental Hospitals in March 2015 and Global Hospitals in December 2015 in India also contributed to its Q1 revenue. With the group's expanded presence in India, the country now joins Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey as IHH's fourth home market, where it has a market-leading local presence.
The higher revenue came even as the group recorded foreign currency translation losses of RM1.1 billion from its foreign operations in Q1, compared with the RM56.6 million gain a year ago.
IHH said it remained in a strong financial position, maintaining a net gearing of 0.19 times as at end-March 2016 with significant cash holdings of about RM2.1 billion.
Said IHH managing director and CEO, Tan See Leng: "We are focused on building on our successes by driving service improvements and synergies across all our markets. We will also continue to be on the lookout for significant but targeted value accretive opportunities, such as our market-leading entry into Bulgaria."
In April this year, Acibadem, IHH's indirect subsidiary, signed definitive agreements to enter the Bulgarian market by acquiring 100 per cent of Tokuda Group and merging with City Clinic. When the transaction is completed, Acibadem will be the leading private healthcare operator in the Bulgaria with four hospitals totalling about 750 beds and four medical centres. Pending necessary approvals and satisfaction of certain conditions, the deal is expected to close within three months.