- BRW Lists
The year’s blip in the fortunes of medical mogul Edmund Bateman shows how vulnerable businesses in the highly regulated medical sector are to changes in government policy. The federal government plans to cut $500 million from its pathology funding costs over five years and Bateman’s Primary Health Care gets half of its revenue as a pathology provider. About 20 per cent comes from its 87 pathology labs and another 30 per cent from its 160 diagnostic imaging sites. But Bateman is an old hand – he started his company in the 1980s – and a determined businessman. Late last year, Primary sacked 290 staff, mainly from its pathology services, and shut 23 diagnostic imaging practices, mostly in Queensland. The restructure hit profits but analysts are expecting a big recovery in the second half of the financial year. Bateman is backing himself by buying Primary shares while the price is down. The canny medico, who long ago diversified his investment portfolio into property, race horses, antique furniture and art, is well placed to tough it out. Bateman and his wife Belinda were the biggest individual financial backers of the Liberal Party in the lead-up to last year’s election, donating $250,000.