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Hospital targets baby boomers for growth

Friday 31st October 2003

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Wakefield Hospital has checked out of intensive care and is finally providing some relief for its shareholders.

The shares investors bought at $2.50 in September 2001 are trading at $1.86 but well above their low of $1.10 last year.

The company has benefited from an increase in patients opting for private medical and surgical attention as public hospitals grapple with unconscionable waiting lists.

It has made no secret of it also looking to benefit from an ageing population, pitting the business squarely in the healthcare sector.

Profit for the year ended March 31 increased 16% to $793,000 after absorbing $258,000 in unusual costs associated with a Securities Commission inquiry into the company's prospectus and listing.

Since then it has appointed former PricewaterhouseCoopers senior manager John Dixon as chief executive and has acquired local counterpart Bowen Hospital.

The improvement coincides with Sir Selwyn Cushing's family trust acquiring a 5% stake.

Wakefield will be looking to consolidate its gains while extracting all it can from the Bowen acquisition. The company is forecasting a "significant increase" in net profit for the 2004 year and should achieve that if patient numbers continue at present levels.

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