Abu Dhabi: Al Noor Hospitals Group’s net profits fell 1.6 per cent in the first half of 2015 to reach $44.9 million (Dh164.8 million) — down from the $45.6 million recorded in the first half of last year, the group announced on Tuesday.

The Abu Dhabi-based group whose shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange attributed the slight drop to higher depreciation costs stemming from a focus on investments and growth initiatives.

Revenues went up 8.5 per cent, however, to reach $244 million in the period compared to $224.8 million in the first half of 2014.

The revenue growth was supported by strong volumes in the outpatient and inpatient business, which were up 13 per cent and seven per cent respectively.

In a statement issued by Al Noor, the group said that “profitability was impacted by the continuing disruption from the refurbishment programme at Khalifa Street Hospital, and the impact of new competition.”

Ronald Lavater, chief executive officer of Al Noor, said he expected margins in the second half of 2015 to continue to be impacted by expansion plans that include the opening of new medical centres. Such factors are projected to diminish during 2016, though.

“We’ve got a new hospital focused on the Emirati population that’s opening up in the first quarter of next year in Al Ain, so that’s going to certainly add growth to the company as well as revenue growth and profitability over time.

We’re also on track to continue to grow our outpatient network, so we’ll continue to add outpatient clinics in the network that will also contribute to growth,” the CEO told Gulf News.

In H1 2015, Al Noor made around $25 million worth of investments, and is expected to invest a similar amount in H2 2015 mainly in the new hospital in Al Ain.

The new facility will be an addition to another hospital in Al Ain, which will see a 50 per cent increase in bed capacity over the next six months.

Lavater added that Al Noor is also looking to expand in Dubai, with plans to add new clinics and hospitals.

Al Noor said it has remained debt free, with a strong net cash position that stood at $91 million in H1 2015 — up 5.4 per cent from the $86.3 million in H1 2014, and will continue to look at acquisition opportunities.

Lavater declined to disclose details on acquisitions but said the group was eyeing the UAE, and the overall GCC region.