KUALA LUMPUR -- IHH Healthcare said it had recorded a net loss of 320 million ringgit ($75 million) for the three months to March 31 compared to a net profit of 89.51 million ringgit in the same period last year.
Asia's biggest hospital operator by market value, IHH said the loss was due to a goodwill impairment at Indian subsidiary Ravindranath GE Medical Associates Pte. and foreign-exchange losses.
Revenue for the period fell 2% to 3.56 billion ringgit from 3.64 billion ringgit previously.
In a stock exchange filing the hospital operator said the group had 400 million ringgit impairment on its Indian investments, and had also realised 60 million ringgit in foreign currency losses relating to the liquidation process at India's Khubchandani Hospitals.
"Despite Covid-19 impact, profit after tax (excluding exceptional items) rose 1% to 189.4 million ringgit on lower net interest expenses following the repayment of bank loans in the first half of 2019 and lower foreign exchange losses resulting from the group's ongoing forex management plan," said the healthcare giant, which operates 77 hospitals in 10 countries.
IHH Managing Director and CEO Kelvin Loh said the headline profits were also affected by a thorough portfolio review within the group and impairments of non-Fortis India investments made in 2015 and earlier.
"Our focus is on maintaining prudent fiscal discipline, driving synergies and diversifying our income streams including with our global telemedicine rollout and enhanced diagnostics and lab capabilities," he said.
According to IHH, since the Covid-19 pandemic began in late January 2020 in China, patient there have postponed non-essential treatment and visits to hospitals and healthcare facilities.
"From March 2020, the Group also saw lower foreign patient volumes and revenue due to the various travel restrictions implemented across the countries that it operates in."
The impact was however partially mitigated by IHH's provision of Covid-19-related services in partnership with governments and the public healthcare sector across different countries.
This includes providing screening services and laboratory testings, providing temperature screening at Singapore's borders, taking in Covid-19 patients decanted from public hospitals in Singapore; and taking in private walk-in Covid-19 patients at the group's hospitals in Turkey and India.
"In May, IHH rolled out telemedicine across all its key markets including Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, India and Hong Kong," IHH said.
"The integration of telemedicine with its existing healthcare services ranging from primary to quaternary care allows patients to receive more convenient access to IHH's full suite of services."
The new income streams should mitigate the adverse financial impact that IHH expects to prolong throughout this year.