November 19, 2012 / 7:11 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-S.Africa's Netcare posts surprise FY profit drop

2 Min Read

* Diluted headline EPS at 93.6 cents vs 114 cents

* Consensus: 119 cents (Adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Netcare Ltd, South Africa's third-largest private hospital group by value, posted a surprise 18 percent drop in full-year profit on Monday, after it wrote down the value of its UK business.

Netcare said diluted headline earnings per share totalled 93.6 cents in the year to end-September, from 114 cents a year earlier.

The market had been expecting profit growth of around 5 percent, with an average estimate of 119 cents per share in a Thomson Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

Headline EPS, the main measure of profit in South Africa, strips out certain one-off items.

Johannesburg-based Netcare said the results included a 10.7 billion rand ($1.20 billion) writedown on the value of its UK business.

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

Shares in Netcare are up about 36 percent so far this year, underperforming its closest rivals Life Healthcare and Mediclinic International, which have surged about 55 percent. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by David Dolan)

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