Key Points:

Listed hospital operator Wakefield Health posted a 54 per cent increase in net profit for the first six months following a merger in February with Royston Hospital.

Wellington-based Wakefield said today net profit for the six months ended September 30 was $2.9 million, after providing for higher depreciation costs of $1.06m for new facilities at Wakefield and Royston hospitals.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 62 per cent on a year earlier, to $8.1m.

"Further growth, underpinned by the increasing gap between patients' expectations and the ability of the public sector to meet them in a timely manner, is expected," the company said.

Directors declared an imputed interim dividend of 7 cents per share, up 17 per cent, payable on December 8.

- NZPA