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Healthscope builds for ageing Australia

AAP logoAAP 22/08/2016 Lilly Vitorovich

Healthscope says it is adding hospital beds and operating theatres to meet rising demand for healthcare in an ageing Australia as the hospitals group reported a 19 per cent jump in annual profit.

Healthscope chief executive Robert Cook said the new financial year will "continue to be a year of significant capital investment" in its hospitals, with 762 additional beds and 43 operating theatres planned by 2019.

The company said its hospital expansion program remains on track with 10 projects under construction in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Healthscope invested $440 million on the expanding its hospital network, including the Gold Coast Private Hospital in Queensland, plus capacity expansion at Knox Private in Victoria and National Capital Private in the ACT.

"These projects have alleviated some of the capacity constraints we have been experiencing in recent years and will contribute to earnings growth in FY17 and beyond," Mr Cooke said.

By the end of 2015/16 Healthscope had 45 hospitals in its portfolio.

Annual net profit from continuing operations rose to of $182.8 million from $153.7 million a year earlier, thanks to the capacity boost, pathology operations in New Zealand and lower interest expenses.

"Our hospitals division delivered good earnings growth and margin improvement from underlying operations and successfully renewed multi-year contracts with our largest health fund partners, Bupa, Medibank and HCF," Mr Cooke said.

The hospitals division is the biggest contributor to group earnings, representing 82 per cent of operating underlying earnings of $407.9 million.

Healthscope shares were up 6.5 cents $2.96 in a higher Australian market in afternoon trade.

HEALTHSCOPE 2015/16 RESULTS

*Net profit up 18.9pct to $182.8m

*Revenue up 6.2pct to $2.29b

*Final dividend 3.9c a share, unfranked. Full year dividend 7.4 cents

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