Domestic rating agency Icra has a stable outlook for the sector in the long-term outlook, given the swift rebound in occupancy as well as structural factors. It expects occupancy to bounce back to 60 per cent in 2021-22 from around 50 per cent in 2020-21, helping push revenue growth to around 20 per cent in 2021-22 as against an estimated 19 per cent contraction in 2020-21.
Operating margin may touch 13 per cent in 2021-22 from a (-)9 per cent in 2020-21, it said in the report.
However, it said hospital operators may go slow on capital expenditure (capex), which anyway was slowing even before the pandemic given the existing capacity that is adequate for growth in the medium term.
Their near-term focus seems to be on better utilisation of existing facilities rather than expansion, said the report. Consequently, this will aid profitability, it added.
Net debt is expected to stay largely range-bound but debt protection metrics is likely to improve significantly due to a sharp rise in accruals, the report said.
Risks to the recovery could be in the form of additional regulatory measures, protracted restrictions on international travel and jump in the pandemic in new cases, said the report.