August 4, 2016 / 6:01 AM / 2 years ago

Private healthcare firm Bupa profit rises, Brexit impact limited

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - British private healthcare group Bupa posted a 2 percent rise in underlying pretax profit in the first six months of 2016 and said the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union had so far been limited.

Underlying profit in Bupa’s largest markets grew 30 percent in Britain in the first half of the year and 10 percent in Australia and New Zealand, the company said on Thursday.

Bupa said profits from Spain and Latin America fell 9 percent, largely due to new regulations in Spain allowing people greater flexibility in choosing hospitals.

Around 70 percent of Bupa’s revenue comes from health insurance, with the rest from hospitals, clinics, care homes, retirement villages, dental clinics and optical outlets.

“We currently anticipate modest growth for the full year, with continued emphasis on deepening our relationships with our customers, combined with robust financial management,” CEO Evelyn Bourke said.

“The immediate impact on Bupa’s financial position following the EU referendum in June has been limited.”

Bourke replaced former chief executive Stuart Fletcher who stepped down in March after Bupa revealed a 2 percent drop in underlying pretax profit in 2015.

Underlying pretax profit rose to 261.7 million pounds ($349 million) for the six months ending June 30, from 256.8 million pounds in the same period in 2015.

Fletcher said at Bupa’s full-year results in March that the operating environment was “pretty challenging” for the unlisted company, which was set up in 1947 before Britain’s national health service.

The health insurer reported a capital ratio of 180 percent.

$1 = 0.7504 pounds Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Alexander Smith

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