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Virtus fertility to expand into Asia

Reported by AAP
Sunday, June 16, 2013
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The world's first publicly listed fertility services company plans to expand into Asia and grow at around four per cent annually over the long-term.

Virtus Health chief executive Sue Channon says four to five per cent growth is now a sustainable rate, down from around 12 per cent achieved between 2004 and 2008 when IVF was generously funded by Medicare.

"We believe around one per cent of that growth will be population growth, around one per cent will be increasing maternal age and the other two to three per cent would come from the increasing accessibility to infertility treatments," Ms Channon told ABC's Inside Business.

Virtus, which recently listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, is Australia's largest fertility services provider, representing more than one-third of IVF cycles.

Women are continuing to have children much later in life as they focus on financial security and careers.

"Many just don't meet their partner," Ms Channon said.

She said the company's growth would come from the introduction of a low cost model and expanding into New Zealand and Asia.

"That is part of our growth strategy," she said.

"We'd like to look at opportunities to partner with other centres in Australia where we currently don't operate."

Virtus has appointed an international business development director in Singapore to look at opportunities in China and India.

The company, which carried out 14,000 IVF cycles last year, provides a standard cycle for just under $10,000 while an advanced diagnostics cycle can cost up to $15,000.

It now plans to offer cheaper alternatives which it says will leave the patient $700 to $1,200 out of pocket.

Roughly 39 per cent of patients are left out of pocket, around 13 per cent are covered by private health insurance and just under half are covered by government funding.

Virtus shares closed three cents, or 0.5 per cent, higher at $6.28 on Friday.

21/09/2014 10:02Sydney, Australia. 21 September,2014
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