February 28, 2019 / 7:47 AM / 4 months ago

Hospital chain Spire's profit plunges on fewer NHS referrals

(Reuters) - Britain’s Spire Healthcare Group Plc reported a 64 percent fall in 2018 pretax profit on Thursday, hit by lower revenue from the National Health Service and higher costs.

Budget cuts at Britain’s National Health Service has led to fewer referrals to big private healthcare providers. To cope with the loss in referrals, Spire said in September it would reduce capital spending and focus on self-paying patients.

“We are taking a measured approach to 2019, which will be a year of consolidation,” Chief Executive Officer Justin Ash said.

The hospital operator said it expects to return to “modest revenue growth” in 2019 after a difficult year, adding that the NHS remains an uncertain market.

Profit before tax was 8.2 million pounds for the year ended Dec. 31, down from 22.7 million pounds a year ago.

Spire said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for the full year fell to 119.4 million pounds from 150 million pounds last year, but was within the company’s January estimate of 119 million and 120 million pounds.

Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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