Mediclinic’s South Africa-listed shares climb 14% on Abu Dhabi U-turn

South Africa-listed shares in Mediclinic International surged on Friday in the first session since Abu Dhabi scrapped a co-payment on private healthcare which had been weighing on the firm’s operations in the United Arab Emirates.

Shares in Mediclinic on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange advanced 14 percent to 141.87 rand by 1214 GMT, on course for their biggest one-day gain in more than two years. On Thursday, the stock gained nearly 20 percent in London, where it has a primary listing.

South African markets were closed for a public holiday on Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi government cancelled a requirement for citizens to make a 20 percent co-payment for treatment at private medical facilities, official news agency WAM said late on Wednesday, buoying Mediclinic’s London shares.

The move is a major boost for Mediclinic, which paid $2.2 billion for United Arab Emirates-based Al-Noor in 2015 to bulk up its presence in the fast-growing market.

But in July last year Abu Dhabi cut insurance coverage under its Thiqa plan to 80 percent from 100 percent, meaning patients had to pay 20 percent of bills at private hospitals.

Mediclinic, which has operations in South Africa, Switzerland and a stake in Britain’s Spire Healthcare, said it was still awaiting precise details from the Abu Dhabi authorities.

Mediclinic in February flagged a revenue drop in the Middle East and has lobbied Abu Dhabi to reconsider the changes.

(Reporting by TJ Strydom, editing by David Evans)

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