Burjeel sees more potential to introduce specialised healthcare services in the UAE even as it targets 'capex-light' moves in some of the other Gulf markets. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE hospital operator Burjeel took in a 11 per cent growth in revenues to Dh1.2 billion for the first three months of 2024, with results starting to come through from its initial expansion into Saudi Arabia.

Group-wide net profit for the period was down 14 per cent to Dh104 million, weighed by one-off items and tax provisioning, If those items were excluded, Burjeel’s net profit tally would have been higher by 16.3 per cent year-on-year to Dh141 million.

In a statement, the Abu Dhabi headquartered company said the double-digit revenue gains came despite the ‘earlier start to Ramadan this March’.

“Outstanding performance across our core business segments accelerated revenue and patient footfall in the pre-Ramadan period,” said John Sunil, CEO. This in turn ‘aligns with our full-year 2024 guidance’.

Dividend plans for 2024

  1. On shareholder rewards, the plan is to pay cash dividends from 2024 onwards, with an expected payout ratio of 40-70% of Burjeel's net profit. This will depend on 'investments required for additional growth plans'.
  2. The Group paid out Dh65 million as a final dividend for H2-23. Total dividends for FY ’23, including the Dh95 million interim dividend already paid, amounted to Dh160 million.

Part of that anticipated future revenue and profit growth will come from its expanding footprint in Saudi Arabia, where it already has 17 of the planned 30 ‘PhysioTherabia’ physiotherapy and wellness centres up and running. “PhysioTherabia has gained access to a broader clientele through strategic partnerships with leading insurance providers,” said Sunil.

More prospects in the Gulf

Burjeel is also taking aim at ‘capex-light’ other possibilities in the Gulf markets. “We anticipate introducing new value-based products in KSA and additional advanced healthcare lines in the UAE.”

In the UAE, hospitals remain the core driver of Burjeel’s revenues, accounting for 90 per cent of its Q1-24 numbers. This includes ‘robust’ top-line growth at its flagship BMC facility and ‘other high-growth assets’.

Room to spare

Occupancy levels at its hospitals were at 64 per cent in the first 3 months, which also means the company has ‘room within the invested infrastructure to grow organically without any further investment’.

"Based on our robust first-quarter performance, especially in the pre-Ramadan period, and supported by strong macro tailwinds, we reiterate our 2024 guidance of delivering mid-teens revenue growth and improving EBITDA margin," the CEO added.