Private hospitals group, Mediclinic International, says it’s looking to its renovated and upgraded local hospitals to further its share of the increasingly competitive sector.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed company operates three hospitals locally, in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Otjiwarongo.
“The newly renovated Mediclinic hospitals in Namibia puts us in a competitive position to gain market share and eliminate the effect of the slowdown in the local economy,” Mediclinic Head of Investor Relations, James Arnold, said in his responses to the Windhoek Observer.
This comes as Namibia’s economic growth is projected to slow down to 2,5 percent this year, according to the Bank of Namibia.
Arnold also alluded to the impact of the economic crisis in Angola on the group’s local operations.
He, however, said the impact had been minimal, despite Angolans making up the bulk of foreign medical tourists using the company’s facilities.
“The economic challenges in Angola had a limited impact on our volumes,” he said.
Arnold also announced that the renovations at Mediclinic Windhoek, which started in January 2013 and were funded through own funds, had now been completed.
The renovation exercise, which added 27 beds to the facility, had initially been expected to last only a year.
“There were a number of challenges which we did not foresee during the project, but it was successfully completed at the end of October 2016,” he said.
Arnold said the company remains bullish about its local operations, despite their small contribution to the group’s revenues in the region. He did not reveal any figures in this regard.
“We remain positive that we are well-positioned to address the need for quality healthcare. We don’t report on a country basis, but the Namibian contribution to the Mediclinic Southern Africa business is very small,” he said.
On the impact of a High Court judgment delivered in March, which ruled against medical aid funder’s tariff practices, Arnold said the outcome will not have a material impact on the business, which relies on medical funders to pay for patients’ bills.
“We are still waiting for the final outcome of the appeal hearing, but we do not believe it will have a significant impact, irrespective of the result,” he said.
The revelations by Mediclinic come as the country has witnessed a surge in the construction and establishment of private hospitals around the country. One of the new entrants, the 134-bed Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, which opened its doors at the beginning of the year, was built at a cost of N$380 million.
Mediclinic Southern Africa, which has operations in South Africa and Namibia, increased its revenues by 8 percent to N$7,3 billion, according to its interim financial results announced last month.
Its bed occupancy rate increased to 74,2 percent from 73,6 percent and revenue per bed day grew by 5,5 percent.
The rest of the group’s revenues grew by 27 percent, to N$20 billion and the operating profit increasing by 10 percent to N$2, 9 billion.
Mediclinic collectively operates 52 hospitals and two day clinics, with a total of 8, 043 beds in Southern Africa.