Bottom Line: Health and wealth

NOW that the stock market is awash with new issues it is only sensible for the promoters of Healthcall, the doctor support company, to price their shares with an eye to the after-market.

At 105p the pro forma historic earnings multiple is a modest 15 times and the notional historic yield a generous 4.7 per cent. Investment trusts apart, the market average historic p/e is nearer 20 and the gross yield about 3.3 per cent.

However, prospective investors should not infer from the attractive price that there is much unattractive about Healthcall. Its main business is operating an out-of- hours medical visiting service.

Overworked GPs are creating increasing demand for Healthcall's services, since the company enables them to contract out their duties on nights and at weekends.

A key attraction of Healthcall is that it employs, on a part-time basis, many of the same doctors it serves. Healthcall estimates that the cost to a GP of a month's cover can be earned doing three six-hour shifts a month for Healthcall. There is growth in the core business, and there's additional promise in Healthcall's nascent all- night surgeries and mobile optometry service. Subscribe.

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