Ramsay vs Medibank: The only trend that matters

Australia’s largest private health insurer and hospital operator go head to head.

At first glance, Ramsay Health Care is an awful business. Private hospitals are heavily regulated and competitors are usually governments or trusts not working for profit. Doctors wield immense power; the business is capital intensive; and advancing medical technology means operating costs rise relentlessly.

Yet in the eighteen years since it listed at $2.20, Ramsay's shares have increased twenty nine times over to more than $64, to give a total return of 25% a year including dividends. What gives?

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