THE BLACKROCK CLINIC, one of the best-known private hospitals in Ireland, racked up a big profit of more than €12 million last year.
The company also approved a €5 million dividend for its shareholders, of which €3.5 million was paid out during 2016.
As well as its original founders, including surgeons Joseph Sheehan and his brother Jimmy Sheehan, the Dublin clinic is part-owned by Irish beef baron Larry Goodman.
Accounts just filed for the organisation show that its turnover climbed to almost €120 million during the year, up from €111 million in 2015.
While staff costs rose as well, the company’s operating profit rose from just under €15 million to slightly more than €16 million.
When several charges, including corporate taxes, were accounted for Blackrock Clinic was left with a full-year profit of €12.5 million, up from €11.4 million the year before.
The directors’ report for the firm attributed the rise in profits to “an increase in inpatient and outpatient activity following the creation of additional capacity in recent years as part of the hospital’s expansion and refurbishment programme”.
However, the hospital did record a loss on paper due a significant remeasurement of its pension liability, for which it booked a charge of more than €15 million.
With this taken into account, the company’s net income for the year was a loss of €1 million.
As of the end of 2016, its accumulated profits stood at just over €63 million.
The hospital employed 839 people during the year, up from 788 in 2015. It said that it employed several additional workers including an extra 100 people or so through contract work for cleaning and consultancy services.
It said that the shortage of experienced and suitably qualified medical workers will continue to pose a challenge for the healthcare sector.
Another risk identified was the price of private health insurance, which it noted had jumped.
“The decision of the government to significantly increase the amounts being charged to insurers for patients with private insurance using public hospitals is one of the main reasons for recent premium increases,” the directors’ report said.
“The government has stated that it intends to address this issue, which would be highly desirable.”
Blackrock Clinic has recently been at the centre of a bitter ownership battle. The dispute, which was heard in the High Court, found that a receiver appointed by Larry Goodman was able to sell shares in the hospital.
Goodman is best-known for his involvement in the beef sector, where his companies control a significant chunk of the market.