Fourth quarter 2019
Full year 2019
We can look back on yet another quarter of strong growth. During 2019 we had organic growth of over 14 percent, which bears witness to the fact that there is demand on the part of our patients and customers for what we do and that the work on utilising our capacity is effective. During the year GHP made several important investments which, together with the underlying growth, will be able to contribute with increased profitability in the years ahead. We have set up business in Kuwait, acquired skin clinics, started up a brand new clinic in the field of outpatient orthopaedic surgery, developed tools for improved care chains within Vårdsamverkan and developed our Executive Committee. Moreover, our clinics have continued to develop and grow so as to be able to meet the great need for high-quality specialist health care.
The investment that has had the greatest impact on results during 2019 is the setting up of the new orthopaedic clinic at Storängsbotten in Stockholm. The unit received its first patients at the beginning of 2019 and gradually grew its business operations during the year as several skilled specialists started to work there. Approximately SEK 10 million was charged to the results during the year on account of this start-up. This investment is important for GHP as it is the largest specialty for the insurance companies and Stockholm is the largest market in Sweden.
In Kuwait we continued to scale up the hospital in the fourth quarter and we can see that the cooperation with the hospital’s stakeholders is running smoothly. During the autumn we had higher costs in Kuwait while we set up business in this new market. During the first half of 2020 we anticipate that these costs will land at a more normal level.
The expansion and the investments that we have made have also meant that we took the decision to strengthen and reorganise GHP’s Executive Committee by appointing two new experienced managers. We have recruited a manager for the Nordic Region in order to maintain coherency in our work in the Nordic market and obtain a clearer division of responsibility. We have also recruited a new manager for International who has solid experience of business development and building business operations in the region. This will be an important reinforcement in our work of developing our business in the Middle East.
The conditions for delivering a financially strong fourth quarter were challenging as earlier in the year we made a change in how revenues in the UAE are divided up over a one-year cycle. In addition to the adjusted revenues of SEK 10 million for the quarter from the UAE, our results were impacted by all the investments we made during the autumn. At the same time it is important and pleasing to see that the majority of GHP’s clinics had a good fourth quarter, with good growth and improved results.
Our Nordic Region segment continued to grow in the quarter, both organically and via the acquisitions that were made in the field of skin care earlier in the year. We are in a situation where the majority of our clinics are running very smoothly and where there is demand on the part of patients and customers for high-quality specialty care. At the same time we can see that some of our businesses have development potential.
In our International segment we have been highly focused on developing the hospital in Kuwait, but our business operations in the United Arab Emirates also had an eventful quarter. Amongst other things, a woman expecting quadruplets at the paediatric and obstetric hospital in Ajman had a successful delivery. In November we also had the privilege of showing the hospitals and the work we have achieved to the Crown Prince of Ajman.
In Vårdsamverkan the efforts to optimise the patients’ care chain was in focus during the fourth quarter. An interesting initiative that we are now conducting is in the patient group with spine-related problems. Using data from the onset of symptoms and up to medical outcome measures, and all consumption of care in between, we map different diagnoses and identify bottlenecks and cost drivers. This means that our specialists’ precious time can be used on those patients who really need it. It is also pleasing to see that the continuous work of controlling and analysing what care is purchased in the field of Vårdsamverkan had a positive impact on the segment’s financial results for the quarter.
Our three segments now have a position and organisation which give us the potential to deliver results and take advantage of the exciting opportunities we see in the various markets.