SINGAPORE - Orthopaedic services provider Asian Healthcare Specialists (AHS) on Tuesday (June 5) posted a half-year net profit of S$1.43 million, up from S$151,000 in the year-ago period as it changed the way it paid its doctors.
On a per-share basis, net earnings was 0.49 Singapore cent for the six months ended March 31, up from 0.05 Singapore cent last year.
The firm has declared a tax-exempt interim cash dividend of 0.2 Singapore cent per share. The counter last traded at S$0.275 apiece on Monday, up 1.85 per cent, or 0.5 Singapore cent.
Revenue remained fairly stable at S$5.65 million for the financial year ended March 31, 2018 from S$5.62 million a year ago.
According to AHS, the increase in earnings was mainly attributable to the termination of consultancy services agreements with some of its doctors, including executive chairman and chief executive Dr Chin Pak Lin, and the commencement of employment agreements instead. The termination of consultancy services agreements led purchased and contracted services costs to decrease to S$64,000 in the first half from a year-ago expense of S$3.7 million. At the same time, staff costs increased to S$1.7 million in H1 FY18 from S$334,000 last year as a result of the new employment agreements and an increase in headcount.
AHS also incurred one-off listing expenses for its initial public offering on the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board in April. Excluding listing expenses, the group's half-year net profit would have been S$2.1 million, AHS said.
Looking ahead, the group expects the demand for its medical services in Singapore to continue growing given an ageing population and an increasing percentage of insured patients in Singapore and the region. Nonetheless, AHS described the healthcare business as "highly competitive" and said that it would focus on growing through acquisitions, joint ventures or strategic alliances, and investments into synergistic businesses. It will also seek to invest in talents to strengthen its market position.