Lanka Hospitals ‘A+’ rating confirmed: RAM Ratings

Feb 28, 2013 (LBO) – RAM Ratings Lanka said an ‘A+’ long term and ‘P1’ short term rating of Lanka Hospital Corporation Plc, has been confirmed with a stable outlook. The firm is 54 percent owned by the state through its control by state-run Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Plc. RAM said state support was expected.

The full statement is reproduced below:

RAM Ratings Lanka reaffirms Lanka Hospital’s ratings at A+ and
P1

RAM Ratings Lanka has reaffirmed Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC’s (“LHC” or
“the Hospital”) respective long- and short-term corporate credit ratings at A+ and
P1; the long-term rating has a stable outlook. LHC is a private healthcare
provider in Sri Lanka. The ratings are upheld by the Company’s strong financial
profile, liquidity, expected state support and bright outlook for private healthcare
in Sri Lanka.

LHC’s financial profile is reflective of its conservative investment policy; its cashflow
protection metrics were strong while its gearing ratio stood at a low 0.03
times as at FYE 31 December 2011 (“FY Dec 2011”). The Hospital’s funds from
operations (“FFO”) debt coverage was also healthy at 6.73 times. Looking ahead,
we envisage LHC’s gearing and FFO levels to moderate amid increased debt to
funds its growth plans in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Hospital’s liquidity profile continued to be solid, with its cash and
cash equivalents (“CCE”) providing a strong buffer against its short-term
borrowings; its ratio of CCE to short-term debt rose to 7.74 times as at end-
December 2011 before moderating to 5.12 times as at end-September 2012. We
note that LHC’s current and quick ratios are also strong at a respective 2.73
times and 2.40 times as at end-September 2012.

Elsewhere, subsequent to the renationalisation of Sri Lanka Insurance
Corporation PLC (“SLIC”) – LHC’s major shareholder – in 2009, the Government
of Sri Lanka (“GOSL”) indirectly owns 54.61% of the Hospital. State support is,
therefore, expected through SLIC and the Hospital’s board that is largely
represented by key government personnel.

An increasing number of patients have, over the years, sought treatment at
private hospitals as opposed to the government sector, owing to better service
quality and shorter waiting times. The growth prospects of the local private
healthcare industry remain encouraging, underscored by greater health
awareness among the public, higher disposable incomes, Sri Lanka’s increasing
ageing population and healthcare insurance coverage among the working
population.

However, LHC’s overall profitability is hampered by its high cost profile. Also,
amid keener competition in the fragmented healthcare sector, the Hospital’s
revenue growth had been relatively slower in FY Dec 2011 than a year earlier.