Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Ulster Independent Clinic Ltd.

By John Simpson

Clinic shows healthy accounts

The Ulster Independent Clinic is registered as a non-profit distributing charitable company, limited by guarantee.

In the last decade the clinic has more than trebled its annual charge and fee income from just over £7m in 2000 to over £21m in the year to April 2010. Over the past decade the clinic has earned a relatively stable and increasing annual surplus, or profit, on its operations.

Capital spending rose significantly in the middle of the decade and peaked in 2008 at over £5m.

More recently, the clinic has had a lower level of capital spending as it improved its performance with the newly enhanced capacity. Unusually, in 2007-8, £1m was borrowed to assist with the financing of the extension and re-equipment budgets but this was repaid the following year.

The company has no significant amount of outstanding debt. Capital expenditure has been financed by using the funds from annual surpluses.

The balance sheet value of the shareholders' funds (or members funds) has risen as retained annual operating surpluses are used to finance investment, the value of which is then reflected in the expressed value of the tangible assets. Staff numbers continued to increase by a small number each year until 2009. In the year 2009-10, average employment of 341 people was slightly lower than a year earlier.

The clinic provides a defined benefit pension plan for some staff. Under the FRS17 accounting standard, the scheme had a net liability of £1.5m in April 2007. This net liability reduced to £0.5m in April 2008. However, the actuarial deficit was estimated to rise further in 2009 and into 2010. As from June 2010 the directors have changed the nature of the pension scheme to reflect a members career average salary rather than the salary in the final years. This change has given an exceptional release of £963,000 to the pensions deficit. These accounts do not include the professional charges paid to the medical staff who separately charge patients for their services.

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