Bloomberg Línea — The Fleury Group, one of Brazil’s leading diagnostic medicine players, calls its vertical offering outpatient solutions in other healthcare areas such as orthopedics, ophthalmology, oncology, fertility, medication infusions, and day hospitals, “New Links”. The premise is that patients increasingly seek services and care in one place.
The company’s efforts to expand this high-revenue growth healthcare ecosystem now include the new a+ Ophthalmology brand for consultations, examinations, and low-complexity procedures in this specialty. The investment so far has been R$ 3 million.
“Now, with the inauguration of the a+ Ophthalmology unit in Osasco, we are expanding ophthalmology services beyond the premium market, which allows us to provide access to many more people,” said Jeane Tsutsui, CEO of Fleury, in an interview with Bloomberg Línea. The unit started operating on the 14th.
The new brand uses the branding of a+ Medicina Diagnóstica, a network within the Fleury Group that is more affordable from a price perspective.
The inclusion of new services in the ecosystem is a strategy that is already yielding results, according to her. The executive, a medical doctor by training, said that the cash generation strategy goes beyond inorganic growth and includes the group’s involvement in new medical specialties, digital operations, and services such as collecting material for examinations at patients’ homes.
However, the new brand is not the group’s first foray into ophthalmology. In April 2021, Fleury acquired 80% of the Moacir Cunha eye clinic in São Paulo, specializing in eye surgeries and treatments for eye diseases such as cataracts, strabismus, glaucoma, and retinal disorders, among others, for R$ 30 million. Last September, it completed the acquisition of Retina Clinic for R$ 21 million.
Ophthalmology is considered one of the areas with the highest growth potential from a market perspective. It is one of the main theses of XP’s private equity strategy, led by Chu Kong. A fund from the firm promoted the merger of Vision One with the H. Olhos Group two years ago.
Fleury’s CEO highlighted that in the second quarter, the group reached R$ 180.6 million in New Links revenue, a 137% increase in 12 months, with organic growth of 30.5%, in addition to the expected effects of the acquisitions, such as the Saha Hospital in São Paulo, specialized in less invasive surgeries and medication infusions, in May 2022, and Retina Clinic.
“We have a unique position in the industry and offer outpatient solutions from prevention to treatment, contributing to the sustainability of a healthcare system that is under a lot of cost pressure,” added the executive.
Home diagnostic medicine service has also been decisive in Fleury’s revenue composition. This service follows a trend of higher-income patients avoiding traveling to a laboratory, opting for sample collection at home.
In São Paulo, two landmarks in the premium diagnostic medicine segment are Avenida Brasil and Avenida República do Líbano, in the Parque do Ibirapuera region. It is in this upscale area of Jardins, near Vila Nova Conceição, that the Fleury brand competes in the premium market with players such as Centro de Diagnósticos Brasil, from the Alliança Group (AALR3).
The group also expands its reach after the business combination with Hermes Pardini, which began in the first semester after approval by Cade, the federal antitrust agency.
“With the Pardini units, we will be in places where we have never been before, such as Goiás and Pará,” said Fleury’s CEO. The company was founded in São Paulo and has a stronger presence in the Southeast region, while Pardini was founded in Belo Horizonte (MG), where it is a market leader, considered a pioneer in the country in conducting examinations for laboratories (lab-to-lab).
Tsutsui said she considers that the purchase of the competitor has contributed to placing the Fleury Group at a new revenue level, and that the capture of business synergies should extend over the next few years. The company’s estimate of obtaining total synergies between R$ 200 million and R$ 220 million has been maintained.
The executive ruled out the closure of Hermes Pardini units after the business combination. A team of eight executives is responsible for the synergy capture plan, including initiatives to leverage the technical areas of both companies and the logistics structure.
So far, Fleury’s CEO said that the company’s main focus is to deliver positive results with the operational integration of Hermes Pardini, and also to preserve profit margins, a key focus for analysts.
“The Fleury brand has shown strong performance, growing 13.2% year-over-year, as home services continue to gain relevance, reaching 7.1% of total revenue. In addition, Fleury mentioned that it continues to gain market share in the premium market,” said Bank of America analysts about the second-quarter results.
The numbers for this period, released in early August, began to incorporate the effects of the business combination with Hermes Pardini after Cade’s approval.
In the second quarter, the group reported a profit of R$ 117.7 million, a 66.9% increase year-over-year, and a net margin of 7.1%, up from 6.3% in the same quarter last year. Gross revenue reached R$ 1.8 billion, a 49.2% growth in 12 months.
BofA analysts maintained their buy recommendation for Fleury’s stock, although they cautioned in the report about increased competition in the diagnostic medicine segment, with larger discounts granted by companies to health insurance operators. This context puts pressure on Fleury’s margins, according to the report.