Spire Healthcare Group swings to loss, chairman announces retirement

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Spire Healthcare Group PLC (LON:SPI) has announced that its chairman Garry Watts is looking to retire after nearly ten years in his role.

He will leave the private hospital group at its next AGM or sooner if a replacement is in place.

READ: Spire Healthcare agrees with NHS England to go back to normal business

In a separate announcement, the company also published its results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, where it swung to a loss due to a fall in revenue following restrictions over private activity during the NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) contract, partially offset by decreased cost of sales.

The group said it will remain within the NHS contract for most of 2020 and if current trends continue, its second-half operating loss is expected to be in line with the first half, or around GBP189mln.

Trading is forecast to return to 2019 levels in 2021 following a comeback of private activity since lockdown while “there is significant national unmet demand for both private and NHS procedures”, Spire said.

Total admissions were back to 95% in August compared to 2019.

Revenue slipped 18% to GBP401mln while last year’s GBP9mln profit before tax turned into a GBP231mln loss.Net bank at December is estimated to be GBP320mln-GBP360mln, from GBP330mln in June.

“The key take-away for us is that Spire is managing the return to normality very well, with strong prospects for future revenue growth,” analysts at Peel Hunt commented in a note to clients.

“This is exemplified by the very encouraging return of activity under the varied NHS agreement (from mid-August), intended to allow Spire to flex its capacity back towards private revenue.”

Spire shares hares dipped 1% to 94.3p on Thursday at the opening bell.

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