3 of the best blue-chip healthcare shares to buy in 2016

The healthcare sector has been on an absolute tear since 2012 and few expect it to stop any time soon. This reporting season has been another stellar example of this phenomenon, as many of Australia’s biggest and brightest listed healthcare companies have yet-again delivered the good medicine to local portfolios.

3 Top Healthcare Stocks to Buy in 2016

If you don’t already have some or all of these companies in your portfolio or watch list then you should certainly have a long, hard look at yourself. At a time when the S&P/ASX 200 has fallen nearly 4% in the last month, these great companies are once-again staying strong.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) shares slightly underperformed the ASX 200 over the month when the group’s results slightly undershot estimates, however the company remains one of the best on the ASX. CSL reported 9% revenue growth, an 11% fall in statutory net profit after tax (NPAT), but a 5% rise in underlying NPAT. Profits fell due to once-off costs and losses incurred with the acquisition of the Novartis vaccine business. The major catalyst for the next 12 months will be CSL’s continued rationalisation of the acquisition of the Novartis influenza vaccine business, which made CSL the second-largest influenza vaccine manufacturer in the world.

Hospital operator Ramsay Health Care Limited’s (ASX: RHC) shares surged in late August after the company reported a huge 16.8% increase in core net profit after tax to $481.4 million. The dividend also increased by 19% and a quick look at the share price over time will show why this is a must-have company in your portfolio. Ramsay is targeting core net profit after tax growth of 10% to 12%, making it one of Australia’s best long-term performers.

The share price of Australia’s other major listed hospital operator Healthscope Ltd  (ASX: HSO) beat the ASX 200 despite delivering a profit that didn’t excite analysts. Healthscope reported a 7% increase in operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $388.3 million and a 6% improvement in revenue for the year ended June 30, 2016. Capacity restricted earnings again, but with Healthscope aiming to add 980 new beds and 50 theatres to its 4,400 bed network between now and 2018, a larger increase is possible over the next couple of years.

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Motley Fool contributor Andrew Mudie has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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