NMC Health’s liabilities to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank total $981m

ADCB is among more than 80 major local, regional and international financial institutions that extended credit to the troubled company

An emergency department sign sits on display outside the NMC Royal Hospital, operated by NMC Health Plc, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, March 1, 2020. Troubled NMC Health Plc, the largest private health-care provider in the United Arab Emirates, asked lenders for an informal standstill on its debt as Abu Dhabi weighs an injection of capital to safeguard the emirate’s reputation among global investors. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has a liabilities exposure of $981 million (Dh3.6 billion) to embattled UAE healthcare firm NMC Health.

The credit was provided to NMC through a combination of facilities extended by ADCB, as well as by Union National Bank and Al Hilal Bank prior to the merger of the three banks in May 2019, ADCB said in a statement on Thursday to Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares trade.

“The bank is not in a position to quantify anticipated impairments at this time due to rapidly evolving developments at the NMC Health group,” it said.

ADCB also said it has initiated discussions with NMC and other "substantial creditors to implement appropriate solutions to address the company’s financial defaults, governance and other issues”.

ADCB is among over 80 major local, regional and international financial institutions that extended credit to NMC, which operates in 19 countries. The loans to NMC represent about 1 per cent of the lender’s total assets.

ADCB said it "is deeply concerned by NMC Health group’s recent announcements of previously undisclosed liabilities of over $4bn ... and disclosure of suspected irregular activities and misrepresentations in relation to the company’s past financial activities”.

The bank said it "is committed to assuring the immediate operational effectiveness as well as the long-term sustainability and value of the company".

"ADCB will pursue actions that support these aims in the interest of the bank and key stakeholders of the NMC Health group, including employees, patients, business partners and creditors.”

NMC Health’s problems began in December after the publication of a report from activist investor Muddy Waters Research, which claimed the company had inflated cash balances, overpaid for its assets and understated its debt.

The healthcare company initially denied the claims and in January appointed Freeh Group International Solutions, a corporate investigations company led by former FBI director Louis Freeh, as an independent body to look into the allegations.

Since then, the company has reported that three of its significant shareholders, including the founder BR Shetty, had incorrectly stated the size of their shareholdings.

NMC subsequently revealed its debt was much higher, at $6.6bn, than the $5bn declared previously and the $2.1bn declared in its last filed accounts.

Last month, NMC appointed Ithmar Capital’s managing partner, Faisal Belhoul, as executive chairman after the private equity company based in Dubai took a 9 per cent stake in the firm.

NMC also appointed Matthew Wilde, a partner with PwC for more than two decades, as chief restructuring officer to look into the company’s debts.

In February, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into NMC's activities after the company's shares were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange.

The company dismissed its chief executive, Prasanth Mangath, in February.