S.Africa's Netcare H1 profit up 25 pct, local unit robust

JOHANNESBURG Mon May 20, 2013 2:39am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG May 20 (Reuters) - Netcare Ltd, Africa's third-biggest private hospital group, posted a 25 percent rise in half-year profit on Monday, helped by a strong performance in South Africa and favourable currency swings.

Netcare, which also runs hospitals in Britain, said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 65.8 cents in the six months to end-March compared with 52.7 cents a year earlier.

While demand for private healthcare has increased in South Africa thanks to a fast-growing middle class, stalling economic growth in Britain has led to a drop in the number of people with private medical insurance.

Netcare said revenue grew 8.5 percent to 13.3 billion rand ($1.42 billion) with currency swings adding another 631 million rand.

Shares in the company are up about 16 percent so far this year, outpacing a 6 percent rise in the JSE All-share index .

($1 = 9.3850 South African rand) (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by David Dolan)

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