Upward earnings trend forecast for healthcare


PETALING JAYA: Healthcare companies expect a steady year ahead for the industry, underpinned by increased spending on healthcare products and services.

KPJ Healthcare Bhd chairman Datuk Md Arif Mahmood said he expects the economic growth momentum in 2023 to carry through to 2024.

“The Malaysian healthcare landscape is expected to remain dynamic, with significant growth driven by private and public-sector spending,” he said in the company’s annual report.

He noted that health tourism is set to witness an 18% growth in 2024 compared to 2023.

“This forecast expansion presents excellent opportunities for KPJ and we are well-positioned to capture them.”

Going forward, Md Arif said KPJ will continue to focus on putting its patients and customers first and strive “to get the basics done well”.

“We will invest in upgrading our facilities and deploying new systems and technology. Our 30th specialist hospital is expected to be operational in early 2025.

“Also, as part of our efforts to create long-term sustainable value, we shall continue to explore new opportunities beyond our core specialist hospital business.”

Taking a glimpse into the outlook of the healthcare industry, UMediC Group Bhd (UMC) chairman Datuk Ng Chai Eng noted in the group’s annual report that healthcare remains the centre stage of the government’s agenda.

“In light of this, healthcare expenditure, from both the public and private hospitals, has been growing at an exponential rate with higher allocation each year focusing on modernising and expanding healthcare facilities.

“Overcrowding in hospitals has also become one key area which the public and private hospitals are looking to address through the setting up of more hospitals, which will ultimately increase healthcare expenditure as well as the demand for medical devices.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming year, Ng said the group is braced to further diversify its portfolio by entering the segment on nursing home management and ambulance services.

“It is in line with our commitment to provide essential healthcare services to our community,” he said.

Additionally, Ng emphasised that UMC is actively staying ahead of evolving trends by looking to promote digital healthcare equipment.

“This is to keep up with the overwhelming industrial demand catering to the needs of our customers,” he said.

Ng pointed out that UMC recently acquired Patho Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd to further diversify its offerings into the laboratory segment.

It will do this by leveraging on its existing marketing and distribution networks as well as manufacturing capabilities.

“Given the overall positive outlook of the healthcare industry, our group is eager to pursue new opportunities. This is to ensure that we are able to further grow the business and provide long-term value for our stakeholders.

“We are confident that the next few years will be pivotal for us as we continue to build on our strengths and expertise in the medical device and consumable industry.”

Meanwhile, IHH Healthcare Bhd chairman Tan Sri Mohammed Azlan Hashim and group chief executive officer Prem Kumar Nair said transparency and accountability remain the “bedrock of trust” for healthcare firms.

“Trust is essential in every business and perhaps more so in the healthcare industry, where lives are being entrusted to medical professionals, systems, and organisations.

“Often times, it is this matter of trust that becomes the deciding factor for patients choosing between one hospital and another,” they said in a joint statement in IHH’s annual report.

They also noted that sustainability is “not a fad nor a checkbox,” but a long-term commitment towards real and actionable change.

“Every action that we take today and every plan that we make for our future determines the kind of impact we have on healthcare, society and the environment.”

In spite of the positive outlook for the sector, KPJ’s Md Arif said he does expect the healthcare industry to continue to face challenges, especially in securing talent and meeting rising costs.

“We have put concerted efforts into addressing these challenges to remain competitive while creating value for our stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, Kenanga Research in a recent report noted that global healthcare expenditure is projected to reach a total of US$10 trillion by 2026, increasing from US$8.4 trillion in 2022 and representing a compounded annual growth rate of 3.5% during the five-year period.

“Amplifying the demand for private healthcare are rising chronic diseases across the globe.

“Specifically, the World Health Organisation reported that almost half of the global healthcare expenditure (US$4 trillion) will be spent on three leading causes of death, namely, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases.”

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