Life Health­care bids farewell to its chief ex­ec­u­tive

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Ka­belo Khu­malo

JSE-LISTED pri­vate hos­pi­tal group, Life Health­care, will un­der­take its ex­pan­sion plans with­out its cur­rent chief ex­ec­u­tive, An­dré Meyer, who had de­cided to leave the group at the end of this month.

He leaves the com­pany barely a month af­ter the group had re­ported that its head­line earn­ings per share had de­clined by 71.3 per­cent to 26 cents in the six months ended March, while its earn­ings per share plum­meted 85.3 per­cent to 13.7c in the pe­riod.

The group had at­trib­uted the de­cline in prof­its to its R14.5 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of Al­liance Med­i­cal in Novem­ber.

It said yes­ter­day that Meyer had done well in his post and helped the group with its ex­pan­sion plans. “The board would like to thank An­dré for his con­tri­bu­tion over the last three years and wishes him well in his fu­ture en­deav­ours,” the com­pany said.

Meyer would be re­placed by the group’s cur­rent chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Pi­eter van der Westhuizen, as act­ing chief, while a search for a per­ma­nent chief ex­ec­u­tive was un­der way.

Mey­er­took the reins of chief ex­ec­u­tive three years ago, and un­der­took a multi-bil­lion rand ex­pan­sion and ac­qui­si­tions drive, shrug­ging off stiff do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion and the flag­ging econ­omy.

Pre­ced­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of Al­liance Med­i­cal, the group in 2014 ac­quired Poland’s lead­ing health­care com­pany, Scan­med Mul­timedi, for R427 mil­lion. Meyer’s aim was to in­crease the group’s rev­enue out­side its home mar­ket to about 20 to 30 per­cent by 2020, a mis­sion that would now fall into the hands of his suc­ces­sor.

Meyer said that af­ter nearly 20 years in the health­care in­dus­try, it was time that he changed course and fo­cused on new op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I have en­joyed the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties af­forded to me dur­ing my ten­ure as chief ex­ec­u­tive. The group now en­joys a global foot­print and in­vest­ments in a broader range of strate­gic ser­vices out­side of the acute care mar­ket and is well po­si­tioned across the full con­tin­uum of health­care ser­vice de­liv­ery,” Mayer said.

With the group’s in­come from South Africa cur­rently es­ti­mated to con­sti­tute 95 per­cent of its to­tal rev­enue, Meyer’s even­tual suc­ces­sor would have his work cut out to catch up with in­ter­na­tional ad­vances made by ri­vals, Medi­clinic and Net­care, which both earn sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue from their in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions.

Medi­clinic’s Mid­dle East busi­ness ac­counted for 24 per­cent of the group’s rev­enues for the year ended March, while its Swiss busi­ness made up for 48 per­cent of the group’s rev­enues in the pe­riod.

For the six months ended March, Net­care’s rev­enue from its UK busi­ness came in at £458m (R7.53bn) agan­ist the R9.2bn it recorded in its home mar­ket in the pe­riod.

Life Health­care Group shares rose 0.34 per­cent on the JSE yes­ter­day to close at R26.63.

PHOTO: TERRY HAY­WOOD

Life Health­care Group an­nounced yes­ter­day that An­dré Meyer will step down as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

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