Hospital operator Circle (CIRC:AIM) is taking another step forward in developing its interests outside of the UK by agreeing to build and manage a health centre in China.

Shares moved 7.4% higher to 19.8p as management hope this will be the first of several such projects in China’s major cities.

The centre in Shanghai will provide primary care and diagnostics when it opens in late 2017 or early 2018.

Circle, along with its partner, Hong Kong-based investor Deep Sea Capital, will receive an annual profit-share of up to 20% for managing the centre.

This is not Circle’s first venture in the country. It also has a partnership agreement to help run state-owned Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai. Patients attending the proposed new medical centre will also have access to specialists and secondary care at Ruijin.

Web - Circle - 29 June 2016

This international push reduces the group’s reliance on the UK, where it has hit the headlines in the past few years.

Circle became the first private company to manage an NHS hospital when it took over Hinchingbrooke in Cambridge back in 2012. It handed the keys back three years later as rising costs on higher A&E admissions mixed with a 10% funding cut made the venture no longer financial viable.

Circle manages hospitals in Bath, Reading and Nottingham while a hospital in Birmingham is under development.

Issue Date: 29 Jun 2016