In South Africa Netcare reports H1 profit rise helped by robust home market

While demand for private healthcare is increasing in South Africa due to a fast-growing middle class, tentative economic growth in the United Kingdom has led to a drop in the number of Britons with private medical insurance.

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A general view of the Milpark hospital is seen in Johannesburg, January 26, 2011. play A general view of the Milpark hospital is seen in Johannesburg, January 26, 2011. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)
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South Africa's second-largest private hospital group Netcare reported an 11 percent rise in half-year profit on Monday as a strong showing at home offset weak demand in the United Kingdom.

Netcare, which runs Britain's largest private hospital network, BMI Healthcare, said headline earnings per share (EPS) rose to 90.3 cents in the six months to March 31 from 81.4 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS strips out certain one-off items and is the main profit measure in South Africa.

While demand for private healthcare is increasing in South Africa due to a fast-growing middle class, tentative economic growth in the United Kingdom has led to a drop in the number of Britons with private medical insurance.

Netcare has been dwarfed by larger rival Mediclinic International PLC, which has made an aggressive push into overseas markets via acquisitions in recent years including buying Abu Dhabi-based Al Noor Group.

Shares in Netcare were down 0.5 percent to 34.16 rand by 0707 GMT, lagging a 0.7 percent gain in the blue-chip JSE Top-40 index.

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