Strategic and financial performance of the three operating platforms
Key to the Group’s strong performance this year was the ongoing ‘settling in’ and resultant cost efficiencies from our new Group structure—implemented two years ago and formed around three operating platforms that design and deliver valued services to members and customers in the areas of health, wealth and living.
Independent and Assisted Living (IAL) ended the year under review with an adjusted EBITDA of $48.2 million—an increase of $51.5 million on the prior year that reflected the continued focus on improving the sustainability of the HDS business as discussed above. IAL’s development pipeline of aged care and retirement communities met key milestones, with four development projects completed across NSW and Victoria during the period.
The portfolio now consists of 3,255 independent living units and aged care beds—an increase of 176 units on the prior year.
Remedy Healthcare continued to focus on integrating its health services into the IAL business and developing a continuum of care approach across the platform. During the year, Remedy delivered more than 390,000 episodes of care across 14 treatment programs.
These episodes were in addition to the more than 3.8 million episodes of care delivered during the year by the HDS business.
Retail delivered a sound result despite complex trading, policy and environmental circumstances for healthcare, health insurance and banking. Retail’s adjusted EBITDA rose by $9.8 million or 15.2 percent. This result was driven principally by a favourable underwriting experience in the health insurance business, strong growth in net interest income in the banking business and sound containment of operating expenses. Australian Unity Bank maintained strong lending momentum throughout the year, with $173.3 million in new loans written. In combination with improved retention rates, this has lifted the loan book by a net $85.5 million.
Wealth & Capital Markets (W&CM) had a successful year of business growth in the property, investments and trustees segments, and favourable outcomes in specific initiatives in social infrastructure related developments. It recorded an adjusted EBITDA of $50.5 million for the year under review, which represented a 36.7 percent increase on the prior corresponding year. In the year under review, Australian Unity's Healthcare Property Trust, the largest fund of its kind in Australia, increased assets under management to $1.63 billion and recorded a return of 9.3 percent.
The ASX-listed Australian Unity Office Fund (ASX: AOF) achieved a return of 24.5 percent, outperforming the S&P/ASX 300 A-REIT Accumulation Index by 5.2 percentage points. Returns across more than 75 percent of funds managed recorded returns above benchmark.
In conclusion, the year under review has seen further unfolding of the Group’s strategic shape and a solid financial performance across our three operating platforms and their respective business units. We believe that during the year, the organisation strengthened its capacity to provide and to extend valuable services for the community, related to important aspects of wellbeing. I thank all of my colleagues at Australian Unity for their committed work to the ongoing development of the organisation.
Group Managing Director & CEO