Life Healthcare profit misses forecasts

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By Reuters

South Africa's No.2 private hospital group Life Healthcare fell short of market expectations for its full-year profit on Friday, after it wrote down the value of a business.

Life Healthcare said diluted headline earnings rose 18 percent in the year to end-September, to 141 cents per share, below the average estimate of 144 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll of nine analysts.

Headline EPS, the primary profit gauge in South Africa, strips out certain one-off items.

The company's rehabilitation and mental health unit reported lower profit due to a writedown at one of its hospitals.

Shares in Life Healthcare dropped 3.6 percent to 32 rand by 09:29 SA time, lagging behind a slightly lower JSE All-share index.

Demand for private healthcare is increasing in South Africa as a fast-growing middle class take up medical insurance. Life Healthcare said revenue increased 11.5 percent to 11 billion rand ($1.23 billion).

Shares in the company are up about 60 percent so far this year, outpacing a 15 percent gain the JSE All-share index over the same period.

Larger Rival Mediclinic International reported a 45 percent surge in first-half profit, helped by a robust showing in its South African business. Netcare, which has flagged as much as 20 percent drop in full-year profit, is due to report next week. - Reuters

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