Sonic Healthcare releases positive September quarter results
- Strong revenue figures for first quarter of FY21
- Dynamic macroeconomic environment increases volatility
- Strong leadership and financial performance positions company for future growth.
On the 14th of October, Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) released its September Quarterly Results. Through 2020, the company has provided an essential service to Australia, Europe, and the USA, testing thousands of people for COVID-19 every day. Services unrelated to COVID-19 have continued around the world, with world-class safety practices reducing risk of transmission.
Associations with different healthcare services and governments have helped bolster the company and develop improved pandemic controls. COVID-19 test accuracy, contact tracing, isolation and quarantining have informed the broader operations of Sonic Healthcare.
A highlight from the Quarterly results is an uptrend in revenue by 29 per cent from Q1FY20’s AUD1,661 million to Q1FY21 AUD2,144 million. This is reflected in earnings before interest, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in a 71 per cent growth to AUD580 million, with the new AASB 16 accounting method factored into all abovementioned figures.
Cost savings during the beginning of the pandemic are a key factor which led to increased growth over the year. Most divisions are now experiencing growth, yet in the US and UK, base business (non-COVID-19 related) volumes remain pre-pandemic levels. This resistance has been mitigated by the growth of COVID-19 testing volumes.
The company acknowledges the uncertainty in long term volumes when it comes to COVID-19 testings. As different factors such as vaccine developments and declines in transmission, the revenue from testing may be at risk. In the long term, the company is factoring in other risks to base business such as social restrictions, lockdowns and reduced out-patient and in-patient activity.
In April 2020, the Australian government awarded Sonic Healthcare with a contract that allowed the business to provide pathology services and recently has been extended to March 2021. Sonic Healthcare will thus be able to continue to provide essential services to residential aged care facilities and continue work in the network of laboratories keeping Australians safe.
Looking at the company’s operations, it remains positioned to grow with a strong leadership culture that has allowed growth in the face of disaster. The 37,000 staff around the world have helped the countries they are based in towards the new normal, with Professor Suzanne Crowe AO helping lead the way, joining the Board from April 6 as a Non-executive Director, providing valuable insights into COVID-19.
Cash flow from operations has been constantly increasing since 2016. The history of revenue is also quite impressive over the years with FY20 of AUD6.8 billion, with AUD528 million in net profit.
Due to the rising uncertainty in both positive and negative directions in dealing with the pandemic, Sonic Healthcare has not provided earnings guidance for FY21. Although the business is fundamentally sound, there are warnings that current positivity may become volatile throughout the year. This is underlined by a lowering of testing volumes in Australia, but German testing reaching new peak levels.