KUALA LUMPUR: Kenanga Research is raising its earnings forecasts on IHH Healthcare Bhd as it expects demand recovery to accelerate following the end of the pandemic in its operating markets.

According to the research house, there have been strong returns of domestic patients and an increase in foreign patients in Malaysia and Singapore in April while high bed occupancy rates are expected to continue in Turkey and Europe.

It added that it the group expects gradual improvement of non-Covid patients in India starting from 2QFY22 as there was a depression on low elective surgeries in 1QFY22 due to the omicron wave.

On inflation pressure, Kenanga noted that IHH had adjusted prices for inflation in 1QFY22 but stopped short of guiding for further upwards price adjustment.

However, it added that medical supplies inflation which represents bulk of its cost is less than price inflation and hence, it enjoys the difference which flowthrough to margins.

"Given the low 'price elasticity of demand' of private healthcare services, IHH has been able to pass on cost inflation to customers, as reflected in its rising revenue per inpatient over the past several quarters.

"In tandem with the stronger-than-expected demand weexpect revenue per inpatient to surpass our earlier expectations," said Kenanga.

The research firm forecasts higher FY22 revenue per inpatient in Singapore, Malaysia and Acibadem of 18%, 11% and 20% respectively, up from 8%, 9% and 10%.

It raised its recommendation to "outperform" from "market perform" and its target price to RM7.20 from RM6.28 previously.



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