(Alliance News) - Spire Healthcare Group PLC swung to a loss for the first half of 2020, it said Thursday, as it announced that Chair Garry Watts will retire at the next annual general meeting.
Shares in the independent hospital group were trading 0.2% higher at 95.18 pence each on Thursday afternoon in London.
For the six months ended June 30, Spire Healthcare posted a pretax loss of GBP231.3 million, a significant swing from the GBP9.6 million profit recorded a year prior. This was as revenue slumped 18% to GBP401.9 million from GBP491.6 million.
The company said that while 2020 started well with revenue up 3% in January and February, admissions declined from mid-March onward due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consultants were diverted to the NHS, and shielding resulted in lower colleague availability and fewer patients for other conditions. It added that the suspension of elective surgeries from April 1 also contributed to the revenue decline.
No dividend was declared on Thursday following the suspension of payouts in April; however Spire said the policy will be reviewed when circumstances permit. For comparison, a 1.3p interim dividend was paid a year ago.
Looking ahead, Spire Healthcare said: "The group will remain within the NHS England contract for most of 2020 and if current trends continue, the board expects operating profit in the second half of 2020 to be at least in-line with the first half. December 2020 net bank debt is expected to be in the range of GBP320 million to GBP360 million. There has been a return of private activity since lock down and there is significant national unmet demand for both private and NHS procedures. Subject to any significant change in the Covid environment, the board anticipates trading returning to 2019 levels in 2021.
Cash held as at June end was GBP90.9 million.
Spire also said Garry Watts will retire from his role as chair at the nest annual general meeting after nearly ten years in the role. It stated it has commenced the process to find a replacement.
"On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Garry for his exceptional stewardship of Spire Healthcare and significant contribution to the company over the course of the past ten years. His expertise and guidance have proved instrumental in helping the business grow to what it has become today, and we wish him an extremely enjoyable and well-deserved retirement," said Deputy Chair & Senior Independent Director Martin Angle.
By Ife Taiwo; email@example.com
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