First-quarter earnings rose slightly at Raffles Medical Group but times could be tougher ahead, given the "more measured" pace of local and regional economic growth that may dampen demand, it said.
Net profit for the three months to March 31 gained 3.7 per cent to $15.5 million, compared with the same period last year.
Revenue jumped 23 per cent to $116.9 million, thanks mainly to "strong contributions" from the healthcare services and hospital services divisions.
But this was offset by heavier staff expenses and higher cost of inventories and consumables used.
Operating lease expenses and other operating outlays also went up.
AT A GLANCE
NET PROFIT: $15.5 million (+3.7%)
REVENUE: $116.9 million (+23%)
Contributions from the healthcare services division leapt 36.3 per cent while those from hospital services division increased 15.2 per cent.
The revenue growth was driven by increased patient load, greater patient medical needs and higher revenue from more specialist consultants.
Turnover was also boosted by sales from 10 regional clinics in which Raffles Medical Group acquired a 55 per cent stake in October last year.
Excluding this contribution, group turnover would have increased by 11.6 per cent.
Staff expense rose 27.5 per cent to $61.6 million. Cost of inventories and consumables used climbed 27.9 per cent to $13.3 million.
The increase in staff cost was partly because the firm recruited more specialist consultants and other employees.
Additional staff expenses were incurred due to the group's new stake in the 10 clinics.
Earnings per share for the three months was 2.7 cents, up from 2.65 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was 107.61 cents as at March 31, up from 104.88 cents as at Dec 31.
The group said that the Raffles Hospital Extension project is progressing on schedule and will contribute an additional 220,000 sq ft of gross floor area to Raffles Hospital when it is completed next year.
The integrated complex will support Raffles Hospital's medical specialists, healthcare training and clinical research. It will also offer opportunities for growth and expansion, the group said.
The Raffles Holland V mall, the group's first property venture, was completed last month and is on track to open for business in June.
The company said: "The more measured pace of economic growth in Singapore and the region may have a dampening effect on healthcare demand."