SINGAPORE (Jan 8): Catalist-listed HC Surgical Specialists, the medical provider of endoscopic procedures and general surgery services with 16 clinics in Singapore, reported 2Q19 earnings rose 1.6% to $1.29 million, or 0.86 cents per share, from $1.27 million a year ago.

Revenue rose 22.3% to $4.63 million from a year ago, mainly due to higher contributions from new and existing subsidiaries.

This includes higher sales contributions from HMC Medical that was acquired in January 2018, Jason Lim Endoscopy and Surgery that started operations in August 2018, as well as a 50% stake in Medical Services @ Tampines which was acquired in September 2018.

In the quarter under review, employee benefits expenses increased 29.6% or $0.38 million from a year ago with $0.18 million due to higher headcount from new subsidiaries after 2Q18 and $0.20 million due to higher accrual of bonus and pay increment for the group’s existing staff.

Other expenses decreased by $0.36 million on absence of allowance for impairment loss on doubtful non-trade receivables while share of profits of an associate decreased by $0.63 million on absence of bargain purchase on acquisition in 2Q19.

Profit before tax grew 15.9% to $1.83 million.

HC Surgical Specialists has declared an interim dividend of 1.0 cent per share.

In November, Singapore’s Ministry of Health had announced the fee benchmarks for 222 common surgical procedures by private surgeons as part of government measures to rein in rising healthcare costs.

HC Surgical Specialists says its business should not be affected by the fee benchmarks due to its “competitive and reasonable pricing and will continue to focus on strengthening its core competencies to provide excellent services to its patients”.

Shares in HC Surgical Specialists are down 20.5% to 59 cents from 73 cents on Jan 8 2018.