Bupa revenues and surplus up 9%

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Bupa grew its overall revenues and underlying pre-tax surplus by 9% last year.

The provider's solid growth in 2010 was knocked by results showing a 72% reduction in total pre-tax surplus.

This, it said, was down primarily to goodwill impairments of £249.2m which took the total down to £118m from £416.5m in 2009.

Group revenues were up to £7.576bn from £6.941bn the previous year, with organic growth of 4% and favourable foreign exchange movements of 5%.

Its pre-tax underlying surplus rose to £464.9m from £428.2m.

The health insurer said this was driven by a strong performance in Australia and Asia, and an advance in profits in Bupa Health and Wellbeing UK (BHW), following an improvement in margins and the implementation of a restructuring programme.

And it noted that the number of lives covered by employee assistance programmes and health assessments reduced, as unemployment levels remained high.

BHW also revealed the sale of Bupa Health Assurance for £168.2m saw a book loss of £6.5m.

The provider's Cromwell Hospital in London fell victim to the ash cloud with first half revenues there falling as international patients were unable to fly in, but this recovered in the second half year.

Meanwhile, the Bupa Care Homes arm saw revenues grow and maintained its surplus, despite what it called ‘unsustainably low' local authority fee increases across England from April 2010 of 0.5%.

Overall occupancy was 88.0% (up from 88.4% in 2009) while occupancy from mature homes increased slightly to 88.5% (88.4%).

Over 70% of its more than 18,000 residents are funded wholly or in part by local authorities and primary care trusts.

Ray King, chief executive of Bupa, said: "Bupa delivered a good trading performance in 2010, despite mixed economic conditions in some of our markets. Underlying surplus increased by 9%, up for the third successive year since the start of the global recession, and leverage reduced to 23%.

"We maintained performance in Care Services in the UK by focusing on occupancy and managing costs carefully, despite downward pressure on public sector fees. We also delivered good growth in Care Services in Australia and New Zealand, where market conditions were more benign."

King added that he believed the company was well positioned for future growth.

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