DGAP-News: Asklepios Kliniken
/ Key word(s): Annual Report/Annual Results
Asklepios Kliniken: Stable development in 2021 financial year despite negative impact from COVID-19 pandemic
Hamburg, 28 April 2022. In the second year of the pandemic, the Asklepios Group and the entire healthcare sector remained under great strain. Despite ongoing restrictions in regular hospital operations and a renewed surge in infections in the winter, Asklepios increased the number of treatments and generated positive consolidated net income in the 2021 financial year. As an integral part of the German healthcare system, Asklepios made an important contribution to overcoming the pandemic.
The Asklepios Group's healthcare facilities treated around 3.5 million patients in the 2021 financial year (2020: 2.6 million). This increase was chiefly due to the majority acquisition of Rhön-Klinikum AG and is comparable with the previous year's figures only to a limited extent. In addition, the Asklepios Group's hospitals slightly increased their treatments in regular operations again, thus taking on an important task for ensuring general healthcare. At the same time, intensive care patients from other, fully occupied hospitals were treated in line with the "cloverleaf" principle, with a total of around 15,000 people being treated for COVID-19 as inpatients. The Asklepios Group's employees carried out more than 2.5 million COVID-19 tests in total and administered over 120,000 COVID-19 vaccines.
"The coronavirus continued to have a tight grip on our lives in the 2021 financial year, posing challenges for the security of supplies throughout Germany. As an integral part of the healthcare system, Asklepios fulfilled its responsibility and proved its strong performance," says Kai Hankeln, CEO of the Asklepios Group. "The Omicron variant once again showed how much strain the hospitals have been withstanding continuously for almost two years of the pandemic. On behalf of the entire Management Board, I would like to extend my personal thanks to our employees for this."
Revenue amounted to EUR 5.1 billion in the 2021 financial year (2020: EUR 4.3 billion). The increase in revenue was chiefly due to the majority acquisition of Rhön-Klinikum AG and is therefore comparable with the previous year's figures only to a limited extent. The cost of materials ratio rose to 24.1% (2020: 22.4%), driven by the increased need for protective clothing for employees and patients due to the pandemic. Absolute staff costs climbed by EUR 490.3 million, while the staff costs ratio remained unchanged overall at 64.8% (2020: 65.0%) due to the increase in revenue. Consolidated net income (EAT) improved year-on-year to EUR 106.3 million (2020: EUR -65.1 million). Equity increased to EUR 1,746.9 million (2020: EUR 1,592.6 million) and the equity ratio of 26.6% was up on the previous year's level (25.2%).
While the healthcare system faced enormous financial challenges as a result of the pandemic, Asklepios proved resilient thanks to its financing strategy. Capital expenditure totalled EUR 332.6 million in the 2021 financial year (2020: EUR 389.6 million), with the own funds ratio remaining almost unchanged at a high level of 72.8% (2020: 74.4%). As at 31 December 2021, Asklepios had freely available lines of credit of around EUR 788.9 million. Asklepios also successfully pursued active maturity management. The schuldschein loan agreement selected in November 2021, which was due to mature in 2022 and 2023, was refinanced in the context of an exchange and increase offer. In addition, Asklepios improved its net debt ratio not including IFRS 16 to 3.1x (2020: 3.8x).
Hafid Rifi, CFO of the Asklepios Group, says: "Despite all the strains in the second year of the pandemic, our business model proved to be crisis-proof. Thanks to our stable, long-term internal financing, we are able to compensate for the loss of government subsidies and invest constantly in our medical facilities and in digitalisation." He adds: "After focusing for two years on guaranteeing the security of supplies in Germany, we will keep using our financial strength to invest in technological advances and thus in a future-oriented positioning for Asklepios."
The Asklepios Group's strategic partnership with Rhön-Klinikum AG has proved its value during the pandemic, allowing Asklepios to fulfil its healthcare mandate even better with responsiveness and implementation expertise. Facilities belonging to both operators already benefited from synergies from the partnership last year, thereby further improving the quality of treatment for the patients.
At the same time, Asklepios is continuing its Digital HealthyNear strategy and has started the next chapter for the Care-Bridge platform: With the Dedalus Group, a leading international software provider in the healthcare sector, Asklepios has found the right partner to continue developing the cloud-based discharge management platform together. Following the majority sale, Asklepios stills has a long-term investment in Care-Bridge and uses the platform at almost all of the Group's hospitals to support employees with efficient discharge processes.
Kai Hankeln emphasises: "Asklepios was and still is a firm pillar of our healthcare system during the pandemic. And we will also continue to take on our share of the responsibility. However, this role does not stop at the doors of intensive care coronavirus wards, but rather also extends to areas relevant to the future, such as the urgently necessary digitalisation of the German healthcare system. To be able to keep ensuring medical quality and good patient care in the future in view of the challenging demographic situation, it is essential for politicians to allow for future-oriented investments now irrespective of the operator - and for hospital operators to manage their funds sustainably and responsibly."
Based on its sound financing, Asklepios is optimistic for the 2022 financial year and anticipates organic revenue growth and a sustainable increase in EBITDA and EAT. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and its potential implications - for example, with regard to rising energy and material costs, supply bottlenecks and shortages of qualified staff - and a challenging regulatory environment will continue to influence the business development and performance of Asklepios.
28.04.2022 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.