Ramsay boss urges patients to seek vital treatment amid virus concerns
“It’s important that people access services in a timely manner. If you delay a hip or a knee replacement, for example, your outcome is likely to be poorer. So there might be a reluctance there, but it’s important people do [come for treatment],” he said.
The company revealed revenues for 2020 were up 7.3 per cent to $12.4 billion but net profit after tax was down 47.9 per cent to $284 million.
The company partnered with state governments between March and June during the pandemic so its sites and staff could assist the public healthcare system. These agreements allowed Ramsay to recover costs for its services but they also resulted in the business being “broadly break-even” in its earnings levels over this period, the company said.
Mr McNally said the pandemic had been one of the most “remarkable” periods in his 33-year career with the company and Ramsay had been able to quickly pivot its services and protect staff and patients. “Our response during this pandemic has shown what an incredible and sustainable organisation we are,” he said.
The second wave of the virus in Victoria is continuing to provide challenges, with the company’s hospital sites treating COVID-19 patients while staff also support public hospitals with surgery work. Mr McNally said staff were providing up to 60 shifts a day in the state’s embattled aged care facilities.
Ramsay conducted a $1.5 billion equity raising earlier this year in hopes of strengthening its balance sheet as the virus disrupted daily operations.
The company flagged earlier this year that it would not declare a final dividend. Mr McNally said while the company’s longer-term fundamentals remained strong, near-term uncertainties meant it was not prudent to provide earnings guidance into 2021.
Analysts at UBS have said the outlook for operators such as Ramsay is favourable despite tough conditions.
“Elective surgery waitlist pressure in the public system could result in outsourcing work to private providers such as Ramsay Health Care, where capacity is not constrained,” they wrote in a note.
Ramsay shares closed 0.5 per cent lower at $65.27 on Thursday.