RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG | 02/10/2005

Trend figures for financial year 2004: Target reached / 2005 set for buoyant growth

The preliminary trend figures for financial year 2004 published today by RHÖN-KLINIKUM Group, Germany’s first listed hospital group with headquarters in the Rhön, once more underscore the soundness of the Group’s forecasts.

Helped by the first-time consolidation of the hospitals in Pforzheim, Bad Kissingen and Hammelburg, revenues rose 9.3% to € 1,045 billion (previous year: € 956.3 million), clearing the € 1 billion hurdle for the first time. The operating result (EBITDA *) was up 2.8%, reaching € 179.8 million (after € 174.9 million in the previous year). The operating cash flow stood at € 137.0 million, 6.3% above the previous year’s level (€ 128.9 million). EBIT** saw a decline of 2.2% to € 122.8 million (previous year: € 125.6 million). “This comes as a result of the commissioning of the new facilities in Uelzen, Attendorn and Hildburghausen – and the accompanying higher depreciation –“, said Manfred Wiehl, CFO of RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG.

Net consolidated profit rose 4.5% to € 76.4 million (previous year: € 73.1 million), slightly exceeding the Management’s own targets. The earnings-per-share figure was € 2.95 (previous year: € 2.82).

During the year ended 31 December 2004, the Group's hospitals treated a total of 598,485 patients (previous year: 530,069), of which 287,204 (previous year: 255,487) in the acute inpatient, 304,214 (previous year: 267,926) in the outpatient and 7,067 (previous year: 6,656) in the rehab area. As at 31 December 2004 the 30 Group hospitals consolidated as per 31 December 2004 counted over 9,211 beds (previous year: 8,365). Company purchase agreements have already been concluded for 12 further hospitals with 3,229 beds. These facilities are to be included in the consolidated accounts in 2005. 

“We will continue to pursue qualitative growth”, said Eugen Münch, chairman of the Board of Management of RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG. “This is the only way to ensure windows are kept open in the future for the Company to continue providing trend-setting, high-quality and still affordable healthcare to patients. We develop solutions as well as investment and organisation models such as the first teleportal clinics now under construction, or electronic patient files in conjunction with clinical processes; these are about to be put to practical testing. In co-operation with Siemens, a highly innovative operation and investment concept for so-called proton/heavy ion therapy has been created; already in the pre-realisation stage it has met with acceptance by specialist worldwide. Currently negotiations are under way on a framework agreement for the sale of several units of the jointly developed model. 

In the discussion with the German Cartel Office we will have to take an offensive stance. Its definition of a hospital and its function absolutely contradicts the legal framework (e.g. integrated healthcare) and hence a modern healthcare system; the latter is underpinned by the integrative organisation of hospitals, and it is precisely this development that the Cartel Office wants to nip in the bud – with merger control and based on the misconception that hospitals are autonomous working units. Should hospital acquisitions actually be prohibited and consequently the contradiction between the statutorily enshrined healthcare system regulated under public law, whose legal framework is incomprehensibly disregarded or ignored by the Cartel Office, definitively come to the fore, it would be expedient to seek a landmark decision on this issue. At the same time we would adjust our takeover strategy temporarily.”

For financial year 2005, the Board is forecasting basis revenues of approximately € 1.4 billion and a consolidated profit of roughly € 80 million; this is to be achieved without further new acquisitions and without the hospital revenues contested by the Cartel Office.