Mater profits rocket to €13.5m

PROFITS at the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin rose by almost 75% last year, making it the most profitable private treatment facility in the country.

Accounts for the hospital, filed at the Companies Registration Office, show pre-tax profits in 2004 rocketed to €13.5 million from €7.8m the previous year.

Improved profits were helped by a near 20% jump in revenue to €86m, while the increase in costs was less than the rise in turnover.

The company did not provide a breakdown of how much of its turnover was generated by treating public patients from the Government’s National Treatment Purchase Fund.

At the end of 2004, the amount of cash on the hospital’s books rose from €7.3m to €13.7m and shareholders’ fund had soared to €58.6m from €17m in 2003.

The Mater, which has nearly 800 private beds, surpasses the Cork-based Bon Secours as the largest private hospital in the country by profits.

As revealed by the Irish Examiner earlier this month, profits at Bon Secours fell by 15% to just under €8m.

The Blackrock Clinic is making profits in the region of €6m, according to its latest accounts. The Mater Private is owned by a consortium of business fronted by the former CIÉ chairman Brian Joyce.

The directors of the hospital are listed as economist Dr Brendan Kearney, another former CIÉ chairman Eamon Walsh, accountant John Murphy, the hospital’s chief executive Mark Moran and chief financial officer John Mooney.

Management and staff also have a small stake in the company.

The salaries and fees paid to the directors rose from €1.08m to €1.2m.

No dividend payments were made to the shareholders in 2004 or in 2003.

The number of people employed at the hospital rose by 40 to 587, which pushed up the wages bill for the year by €3.6m to €32.4m.

The accounts also revealed that the employee pension fund had a deficit of €4m. The directors acquired the Mater from the Sisters of Mercy order four years ago for €28m in cash and the assumption of the hospital’s debts amounting to €14m.

The value of the hospital has since doubled in value to more than €100m.

The private healthcare sector is one of the fastest growing industries in Ireland and if the facility came up for sale it could fetch more €100m based on the improved profit figures.

According to experts, around €3 billion will be invested in private healthcare facilities in the next five years.

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