KPJ Healthcare likely to post higher revenue

PETALING JAYA: CGS-CIMB Research expects KPJ Healthcare Bhd to post higher revenue and core earnings per share (EPS) on a year-on-year (y-o-y) and quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) basis in its upcoming second quarter results for financial year 2022 (2Q22).

This is based on a recent discussion with KPJ, which noted its patient volumes and bed occupancy rate (BOR) rose q-o-q in 2Q22.

“This is partly due to the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, while we think revenue intensity should have also improved q-o-q on gradual fee hikes,” said CGS-CIMB Research in its latest report.

KPJ’s BOR also recovered to pre-pandemic levels of 66% to 67% at the end of May, it added.

The healthcare group’s health tourism (HT) revenue rose a robust 21% y-o-y in 1H22, albeit off a low base in 1H21 due to international border closures.

CGS-CIMB Research noted KPJ expects HT to form about 10% of its total revenue in FY22 and is set to grow 10% to 15% y-o-y in FY23.

Meanwhile, KPJ also projected cost savings from the centralisation of certain functions, such as procurement, credit facilities and management that were undertaken in the financial year 2021 to be offset by cost pressures for external service providers due to higher minimum wages in the near term.

On the group’s earnings outlook, CGS-CIMB Research said: “We project FY22 core EPS to jump 95% y-o-y from the low base in FY21 before increasing a further 28.4% in FY23 and 10.3% y-o-y in FY24.”

It expects this to stem from rising patient volumes post-pandemic recovery, structurally higher private healthcare demand and growing health tourism contribution.

Other positive factors include improving revenue intensity, cost savings from the centralisation of certain functions, recovery in associate earnings and normalisation of effective tax rate in FY22.

In another development, KPJ’s plans to divest its loss-making Indonesia operations are progressing well and likely to be concluded by end-2022, said CGS-CIMB Research.

“However, the completion of the sale of Jeta Gardens (JT) may be delayed slightly to end-2023 from 3Q23 previously,” it added.

The research house noted KPJ for now intends to reinvest the cash proceeds from the sale of its Indonesian operations to ramp up capacity at Damansara Specialist Hospital 2, while it does not project material cash proceeds from the JT sale.

CGS-CIMB Research has upgraded the stock to an “add” call with a slightly higher target price of RM1.04.

It noted the re-rating catalysts for KPJ include full recovery from Covid-19, rising HT contribution and sale of its foreign operations.

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