Al Noor Group plans new clinics and Al Ain hospital

An increase in outpatient volumes helped the Abu Dhabi company to post a 22 per cent increase in operating profit in the first half of the year.

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Al Noor Hospitals Group is on track to open new clinics in Sharjah and Al Gharbia and a hospital in Al Ain, a top official said yesterday.

The Sharjah clinic will start operations in the second quarter of next year, and the company also plans to begin operating a clinic by year’s end near the nuclear power plant under construction at Barakah.

A 40-bed, US$20 million hospital in Al Ain is scheduled to open in 2016.

Sami Alom, the chief strategy officer at Al Noor, said the London-listed group was also keen to enter Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

“We are also looking at some merger and acquisition opportunities in hospitals and clinics outside Abu Dhabi,” he said.

The company is also adding intensive care capacity, and introducing endoscopic spine surgery at its hospitals.

An increase in outpatient volumes helped the Abu Dhabi company to post a 22 per cent increase in operating profit in the first half of the year. Operating profit was US$46.2 million, up from $37.7m last year.

Net cash decreased 1.9 per cent to $86.3m, as the company invested $4.5m to replace medical equipment and spent $1.5m on expansion and refurbishment work at its Khalifa Street hospital in the capital. The company also spent $30m on acquisitions, including the Gulf International Cancer Center in February, said Pramod Balakrishnan, the chief financial officer at Al Noor.

Outpatient volumes rose by 19.7 per cent from a year earlier as more doctors were recruited. The average revenue per outpatient rose 10.5 per cent to $168.

Inpatient volumes increased by 1.1 per cent, held in check by the continuing renovations at the Khalifa Street Hospital. Hospitals on Airport Road and in Al Ain supported volumes. The average revenue per inpatient rose 9.3 per cent to $2,431.

The results were in line with the expectations of the Deutsche Bank analyst Marc Hammoud, who has a “hold” recommendation on its shares.

New competition in the city from new facilities such as Healthpoint and Universal hospitals, which opened last year, also led to the decline, he said.

The group’s total revenue rose 25.2 per cent, year-on-year, to $224.8m in the first half.

The group recruited 31 doctors in the first half and opened three new medical centres in the first quarter. The group now runs three hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and 16 clinics.

The group’s founder and chief executive Kassem Alom is stepping down on October 1 as part of a planned succession. He will be replaced by Ronald Lavater, a senior executive for the Middle East region at Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Mr Alom will continue as the non-executive deputy chairman.

“The change will have no effect on the group’s expansion strategy and day-to-day running of the company,” Sami Alom said.

Al Noor’s shares yesterday were trading at 1,006 British pence in the morning, up 1.5 per cent from Monday’s close.