NMC Health's administrators appoint restructuring experts to new board

Move will 'ensure more robust standards of governance' at the company

FILE PHOTO: An NMC Specialty Hospital, part of the NMC Healthcare group which listed in the London Stock Exchange, is seen in the Al Nahda area of Dubai April 29, 2012. REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh/File Photo
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Alvarez & Marsal, the joint administrators of the UAE's biggest healthcare company, NMC Health, appointed a new set of board members "to ensure more robust standards of governance" at the company.

The four new non-executive directors – Eli Chahin, Christopher Hall, Myles Halley and Philip Gore-Randall – have broad international restructuring experience, according to a company statement on Monday.

The previous board members "ceased to have decision-making powers" with the appointment of administrators and have been removed from the board, it added.

"The [new] board has already met to begin the detailed work necessary to create the governance platform in the group supporting real stability for NMC’s operating businesses," said Richard Fleming, managing director of Alvarez & Marsal Europe and joint administrator of NMC Health.

“Our immediate focus is also to work with the management teams in the operating companies to ensure that NMC’s doctors, nurses and care workers have everything they need, every day, as they work tirelessly to ensure continuity of care for patients, which is especially important as the world fights the Covid-19 pandemic.”

NMC Health was placed into administration by a UK court on Thursday following a petition brought by its biggest creditor, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The lender, owed $981 million (Dh3.6bn) by the company, is one of more than 80 banks who have more than $6.6bn in total exposure to the company.

NMC Health employs about 2,000 doctors and almost 20,000 other staff. It operates 2,200 hospital beds, as well as clinics and pharmacies in 19 countries.

Following their appointment last week, the joint administrators said only the group's holding company was affected by the move.

"All hospitals, medical centres, care facilities and other operations in the group are not subject to the administration procedure, so their current activities will not change," they said in Thursday's statement.

NMC Health's new board members have extensive experience board advisory roles.

Mr Chahin has more than 25 years' experience, specialising in banking, management consulting and specifically financial restructurings across Europe and the Middle East. He has previously held various senior roles with ANZ Bank, Standard Chartered and AlixPartners, where he recently worked as a senior adviser. He also sat on the board of the Al Jaber Group and is currently a director of oil and gas exploration firm Bowleven.

Mr Hall has served on the boards of several public and private companies. Until 2017 he was a senior finance partner at law firm Latham & Watkins and is currently managing partner of  Oxford Investment Consultants, an advisory firm that identifies and invests in technology companies being spun out of UK universities.

Mr Halley is a former senior partner at KPMG and is a specialist in business transformation and restructuring. He is also currently chairman of trampoline parks business Airhop UK and housebuilder William Davis.

Mr Gore-Randall is a chartered accountant and former global chief operating officer of Arthur Andersen.

The administrators said Michael Brenden Davis remains in his post as interim chief executive, but will not sit on the group's board and Simon Watkins remains as company secretary. Nirman Shetty, chief operating officer of the company's distribution arm, has left the business.

On Monday, The Times newspaper in London reported that administrators could return to markets to raise capital if a restructuring of NMC Health is deemed to be achievable.

It cited court documents accompanying Alvarez & Marsal's appointment which stated it "may be desirable to continue to make use of the company as a listed entity to allow the group access to equity funding”.

In a statement to the newspaper, Mr Fleming said retaining the company's listing could “provide an exit route for investors if and to the extent that any of the existing financial indebtedness should be converted to equity under a restructuring that has the support of the creditors of the company and the group”.

A spokesman for Alvarez & Marsal declined to comment when contacted by The National.