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Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) shares edge higher on AGM update: Should you invest?

The Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) share price has edged higher on the day of its annual general meeting.

The private hospital operator’s shares are up over 1% to $56.15 at the time of writing.

Was anything announced at the meeting?

Ahead of the event the company release its annual general meeting presentation which contained a breakdown on its FY 2018 performance, information relating to its Capio AB acquisition, and an update on its expectations for the year ahead.

In relation to its Capio AB acquisition, management advised that it became a majority-owned subsidiary of Ramsay Générale de Santé on November 7.

The company remains very optimistic on the transaction, believing Capio’s integrated healthcare network is consistent with Ramsay Health Care’s strategy to grow both its hospital and out-of-hospital businesses.

It also provides the company with a gateway for further bolt-on acquisitions in the Nordics in the future.

Capio AB is expected to be core EPS accretive within two to three years. Whereas in FY 2019 the acquisition is expected to have a neutral impact.

Which means that management continues to target positive core EPS growth of up to 2% in FY 2019.

Should you invest?

While I am a big fan of Ramsay Health Care and think it is one of the highest quality businesses on the Australian share market, I don’t believe its growth prospects justify its shares trading at 22x earnings at present.

I think this meaningful premium over the market average would be suitable if it were growing earnings in the 10% to 15% range, but not by “up to 2%”.

In light of this, I continue to class Ramsay Health Care as a sell and would suggest investors look elsewhere in the healthcare sector.

Blue chip healthcare shares such as biopharmaceutical company CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) and medical device company ResMed Inc. (ASX: RMD) could be great alternatives in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Ramsay Health Care Limited and ResMed Inc. 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 Scott Phillips.

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