First quarter 2020
The first quarter of 2020 was unique from several perspectives. We have never before gone into a new year better positioned to efficiently deliver high quality health care. This can also be seen in our financial results, where we have high organic growth in the quarter and have our best quarterly results so far. However, what makes the quarter even more unique and challenging is the ongoing spread of the corona virus. As a health care company, we are both impacted by the situation and we can help to impact the situation. One of GHP’s key concepts is that we will create societal benefit and over the years this has permeated our way of working, both in the Nordic market and internationally. In these times, however, the importance of being able to contribute to societal benefit becomes clearer than ever.
GHP has a strong base to stand on, with smoothly functioning and efficient clinics, but when conditions change quickly it becomes more difficult to maintain efficiency. This means that we are expecting a considerable negative impact on our financial results in the coming quarters. At the same time, we feel secure in the knowledge that our decentralised way of working means that we can adapt quicker and will help us to return to a normal situation when the most critical corona period is over.
In the Nordic Region we continue to grow at the same time as we are improving our results. Most of our clinics noticed a slowing down of their business at the end of the quarter, particularly as we have chosen not to treat risk groups who do not have an immediate health care need. The situation we now find ourselves in means that both public and private actors face new, time-critical challenges, which sometimes means that the necessary conditions are not in place. We therefore have a close dialogue with both existing clients and new clients on this topic.
In the Nordic Region our basic premise is that we can best help by the regions passing on priority care to us that they themselves do not currently have the time for. For example, we have new assignments in the field of urological cancer operations, and we have also started up a geriatric ward. These measures release capacity at the emergency hospitals for corona patients at the same time as we can make use of our fixed costs (including personnel costs). We have also hired out key personnel to the Stockholm region to help with ICU care. All in all, we have in many respects been able to maintain a reasonable level of business operations, but the highly fluid situation makes it difficult to be efficient. Furthermore, we have furloughed, laid off, reduced salaries and terminated consultants. In Denmark, after a couple of weeks of no surgical activities, we have now obtained permission to open up our activities gain.
In International we also started the year with high growth and improved results. A contributory factor here is our management contract in Kuwait which was started last summer. Since then we have worked on gradually scaling up the hospital. The restrictions that exist in the country due to the coronavirus make it more challenging for us to run these business operations and this may impact earnings, but we look forward to holding the official inauguration ceremony for the hospital as soon as possible.
The hospitals that GHP runs in the UAE are playing an important role in the management of corona in Ajman. The personnel have done a fantastic job preparing the hospitals and taking care of all these new patients. We are delighted to see that this is appreciated by our client and by society in Ajman.
In Vårdsamverkan we have for a long time developed digital solutions for patients, customers and care providers. We have been able to make use of these solutions in these times as it may be an advantage to reduce the number of physical appointments, which is a tool for reducing the spreading of the disease. We have therefore taken the opportunity of introducing digital appointments at almost all our clinics.
Even if the year has started well from a financial perspective, what pleases me most when I look back on the first quarter is the drive that exists in all our businesses regarding rapidly adapting to new conditions. Results the two coming quarters will be impacted negatively and there will be challenges in our businesses, but we expect that when the crisis has faded we will see very strong demand and be able to revert to good results.