Private hospital and medical centre operator Ramsay Healthcare has upgraded its annual earnings guidance after enjoying a strong start to the financial year.
Ramsay's first half net profit rose 10.1 per cent to $138.4 million in the six months to December 31, from $125.7 million a year earlier.
The group's core net profit, excluding non-core items, rose 12.3 per cent to $148.2 million.
Ramsay said it now expected to increase core net profit by between 13 and 15 per cent.
It had previously forecast growth of 10-12 per cent.
Chief executive Christopher Rex said the group remained on the hunt for acquisitions overseas, including in emerging markets.
"We will also continue to examine opportunities in existing markets in both the private and public sectors," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Ramsay has extended Mr Rex's contract by three years.
His contract, originally due to expire in June, will now run until mid 2016 then continue on a rolling basis or be terminated by either himself or Ramsay.
The company said his remuneration would be reviewed each July.
His fixed remuneration is currently $2.1 million and he is entitled to short- and long-term incentives.
Ramsay lifted its fully-franked interim dividend to 29 cents a share from 25.5 cents.