NMC Health seeks delisting of shares from London Stock Exchange

The company's operating entities are unaffected by the delisting

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
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NMC Health, the embattled firm now in administration, asked the London Stock Exchange to delist its shares, following a string of revelations about the financial position of the company.

The "continued listing of the shares in NMC Health incurs significant cost and adds complexity in a situation where decisions need to be made quickly in partnership with the group's stakeholders. Against this backdrop, the administrators have concluded that delisting NMC Health's shares is appropriate", the company said in a statement to London Stock Exchange on Monday.

Trading in the shares of NMC Health was suspended on February 27. A UK court placed NMC Health into administration on the application of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) earlier this month. ADCB has an exposure of $981 million (Dh3.6 billion) to NMC. Overall, UAE banks have a combined exposure of at least Dh8bn to the healthcare firm.

“The operating entities are unaffected by the delisting. NMC's hospitals, medical centres, care facilities and other operations in the group continue to operate, under existing management, with patients continuing to be treated as they are currently,” NMC added in the statement to the LSE.

The development comes as ADCB initiates criminal legal proceedings with the attorney general in Abu Dhabi against the company’s founder BR Shetty and a number of other individuals.

On March 10, NMC announced its debt position was $5bn, materially above the last reported numbers of $2.1bn and on March 23, it said the debt was estimated to be around $6.6bn.

"We are working at pace to ensure continuity of patient care, stability for staff and suppliers and financial security for NMC's operating companies. Delisting shares in NMC Health is the logical next step, given the situation we have inherited,” Richard Fleming, joint administrator of NMC Health and managing director of Alvarez & Marsal, said.

Alvarez & Marsal also appointed a new set of NMC board members including Eli Chahin, Christopher Hall, Myles Halley and Philip Gore-Randall "to ensure more robust standards of governance" at the company.

Over 80 major local, regional and international financial institutions extended credit to NMC, which was founded by Mr Shetty in Abu Dhabi in 1975, and now employs more than 2,000 doctors and about 20,000 other staff.

The company operates 2,200 hospital beds as well as clinics and pharmacies in 19 countries.

NMC has made a series of damaging disclosures in the past few months after a report by activist investor Muddy Waters in December alleged it inflated cash balances, overpaid for assets and understated its debt.