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Private hospitals may benefit from rise in Covid-19 cases: DBS

Felicia Tan
Felicia Tan10/25/2022 04:33 PM GMT+08  • 2 min read
Private hospitals may benefit from rise in Covid-19 cases: DBS
DBS has kept “buy” on Raffles Medical Group and IHH Healthcare with target prices of $1.63 and RM7.90 ($2.37) respectively. Photo: Raffles Medical Group
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Private hospital groups such as Raffles Medical Group and IHH Healthcare may stand to benefit from the rise in Covid-19 cases, says DBS Group Research analyst Rachel Tan.

Referring to a report by broadsheet The Straits Times on Oct 20, Tan noted that public hospitals in Singapore are experiencing a bed crunch that has spilt over to the emergency departments. The crunch, which has increased the waiting time at public hospitals to 50 hours, has been attributed to the rise in Covid-19 cases, the flu season, as well as the higher number of acute patients.

Singapore is currently in the middle of a new Covid-19 variant, XBB.

In her report dated Oct 21, Tan referenced Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung’s timeline that the XBB wave is expected to peak in the first half of November. The current number of hospitalisation cases is still half of that during the Delta wave or the earlier Omicron wave, she notes.

However, Ong later said that the number of Covid-19 cases in the current wave has peaked, earlier than his previous estimate. The minister was speaking at the sidelines of the launch of a sports hall in Bukit Canberra on Oct 23.

“While the current wave is still not a cause for concern yet, the over-crowded public hospital could potentially spillover to the private hospitals,” Tan writes.

See also: UOB Kay Hian upgrades Frencken to 'buy' due to 'positive outlook' for its key customer and improving cost pressures

Raffles Medical, as the partner of the Ministry of Health (MOH) on The Emergency Care Collaboration, could be one of the bigger beneficiaries from the spillover in cases from public hospitals, she adds.

Other private hospital groups such as IHH Healthcare could also benefit from patients seeking private medical treatment to avoid the long waiting hours at public hospitals.

“We understand (from our research on the ground) that the private hospitals are starting to set aside beds for Covid-19 patients and are seeing capacity fast filling up with non-urgent treatment are being deferred,” says Tan.

See also: Citi maintains 'buy' rating on Genting Singapore off the back of MBS results beat

That said, the analyst believes that the government, with its experience from the past few waves, are “well prepared in anticipation for the peak of this wave”.

Tan has kept “buy” on Raffles Medical Group and IHH Healthcare with target prices of $1.63 and RM7.90 ($2.37) respectively.

As at 4.32pm, shares in Raffles Medical Group and IHH Healthcare are trading at $1.22 and $1.78 respectively. Shares in IHH Healthcare are trading at RM5.98 on Bursa Malaysia.

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