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RESEND: Vital Healthcare flags A$14.4M of new projects, buys land in Melbourne

Vital Healthcare Property Trust, the country's biggest listed medical and healthcare property investor, has signalled A$14.4 million of new developments in Newcastle, Australia, and bought land in Melbourne to beef up an existing property in the city.

The property investor will spend A$13 million to build a new 42-bed ward and car park at its Maitland Private Hospital just outside of Newcastle, and A$1.4 million to refurbish a theatre at Lingard Private Hospital, just south of Newcastle, its manager said in a statement.

The Maitland development is expected to be completed by November next year, and the Lingard in February. Vital also spent A$3.5 million buying property next to its Epworth Eastern site in Melbourne to allow the hospital to expand over the medium term.

In October Vital flagged A$15.5 million of new projects on existing hospitals in Sydney and Brisbane and the sale of a New Zealand property.

Vital Healthcare is investing in private hospital facilities in New Zealand and Australia as it expects demand to increase from an ageing population, a rise in chronic disease and higher patient expectations. About 47 percent of Australians have private health care cover for hospitals, compared to about 30 percent of New Zealanders.

Units in the trust were unchanged at $1.53, and have gained 20 percent this year.