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IHH Healthcare Q4 net profit jumps fivefold on forex gains

ASIA's largest private hospital operator IHH Healthcare on Wednesday posted a fivefold jump in net profit for the fourth quarter to RM509 million (S$169 million) from RM101 million a year ago, led by stronger operational performance and boosted by foreign exchange gains from its Turkish hospital Acibadem's non-Lira borowings.

Revenue improved 10 per cent to RM3.17 billion from RM2.9 billion a year ago which the company attributed to growth from existing operations, ramp-up of Gleneagles Hong Kong and Turkey's Acibadem Altunizade and contribution from the newly acquired Amanjaya Specialist Centre in Kedah, and India's Fortis Healthcare.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the three months to end-December 2018 rose 18 per cent to RM724 million, thanks to stronger operational performance across its home markets Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey.

This was despite the offsetting translational effect from a stronger Malaysian Ringgit against the currencies of other countries in which IHH operates, said the group. On a constant currency basis, revenue and EBITDA grew 28 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

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Earnings per share for the quarter rose to 5.78 sen from 0.95 sen. The board has recommended a first and final dividend of three sen, unchanged from the previous period.

For the full year, net profit came in 35 per cent lower at RM628 million on the back of a 3 per cent increase in revenue to RM11.5 billion. The hospital operator attributed the weaker bottom line mainly to higher net forex losses for Acibadem's non-Lira loans, and against a high base in 2017 that included a one-off gain on the disposal of its stake in Apollo Hospitals.

Profit after tax and minority interest (excluding exceptional items) hit a record high of RM1.03 billion for the full year 2018, up 73 per cent from a year ago led by foreign exchange gains arising from the stronger US dollar on the group's US-denominated cash balances.

The net gearing of IHH which is listed in Malaysia and Singapore stood at 0.10 times with a cash position of RM7.8 billion.

On the Singapore bourse, the counter finished at S$1.85, down two Singapore cents or 1.07 per cent.