Clinic profits rise 42%

THE Blackrock Clinic in Dublin made profits of €8.6 million last year, 42% more than in 2003.

The private hospital, one of the first ever built in the State, said it benefited from higher revenues and more contracts to treat public patients.

“Following significant investment in the hospital, revenue has increased. This together with a number of short-term contracts positively impacted on profits for the current year,” the company said.

Turnover for the year was up from €54.2m to €62.3m, according to the clinic’s latest accounts.

The company’s shareholders were paid a dividend of almost €3.4m, up from €3.11m in 2003. The hospital is majority-owned by British health insurance group BUPA.

Founders Joe and James Sheehan still have a stake in the company, though it is not known how much of the dividend they received.

They are also investors in the €110m Hermitage private hospital, under construction in Lucan in west Dublin.

The Blackrock Clinic accounts show shareholders’ funds at the end of 2004 grew to €25.8m. But if the hospital were sold it would fetch a multiple of that figure.

The number of employees increased by 10 to 526. The wages bill came to €20.4m, or an average of €38,000. The company paid nearly €2m to temporary contract and medical staff to cope with the extra workload. The company’s directors, who include CRH chairman Pat Molloy, were paid €53,312 in fees.

The €8.6m made by the Blackrock Clinic brings to more than €30m the profits earned by the big three private medical groups in the country. Cork-based Bon Secours generated €7.9m, while Dublin’s Mater Private made profits of €13.5m.

The country will be flooded by private medical care in the coming years. According to a report by Goodbody Stockbrokers some €3 billion will be invested in private hospitals in the next five years.

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