Revenue for the interim period rose to GBP1.4 billion (GBP1.3 billion) whilst operatign profit lowered to GBP133 million (GBP169 million). Loss attributable to equity holders was GBP50 million (profit of GBP110 million). In addition, headline earnings per share decreased to GBP8.7 pence per share (GBP14.9 pence per share).
The Group's dividend policy is to target a pay-out ratio of between 25% and 30% of underlying earnings. The board may revise the policy at its discretion.
The board declared an interim dividend from retained earnings of 3.20 pence per ordinary share for the six months ended 30 September 2017. Shareholders on the South African register will be paid the ZAR cash equivalent of 59.87200 cents (47.89760 cents net of dividend withholding tax) per share.
The Group maintains the following guidance, for the financial year ending 31 March 2018 ("FY18"), unless otherwise stated:
* Hirslanden: Modest revenue growth is expected. The underlying EBITDA margin in the second half of the year will typically reflect the seasonal benefit of the winter period including higher occupancy and improved insurance mix. The full year margin will be impacted by the TARMED outpatient tariff reductions from 1 January 2018, outmigration of care, two Easter holiday periods, costs relating to the Hirslanden 2020 strategic programme and the Linde acquisition, partially offset by ongoing efficiency gains.
* Mediclinic Southern Africa: The Group expects revenue growth to be around 4% due to the challenging macro*economic environment, greater competition, timing of two Easter holiday periods and funder interventions. Despite cost inflation running above tariff increases, the underlying EBITDA margin is expected to remain broadly stable at 21% due to increased efficiencies.
* Mediclinic Middle East: The established Dubai business is expected to perform well despite the competitive landscape. A gradual improvement is expected in the Abu Dhabi business over the next couple of years. Premised on strong revenue and underlying EBITDA growth in the second half of the financial year, the Group expects a marginal improvement in Middle East revenues for the full year and a gradual improvement in underlying EBITDA margins over time, including the impact associated with the opening of new facilities.
* The Group's revised capital expenditure budget for the year is 12% lower at GBP247m in constant currency (by using average FY17 exchange rates). This comprises GBP114m in Hirslanden, GBP64m in Mediclinic Southern Africa and GBP69m in Mediclinic Middle East.