Monday, 10 August, 2020
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NMC Health reveals KKR, GK approaches as founder Shetty steps back

Patty Aguilar | 13 February, 2020, 11:52

"Today's freakish disclosures about even more pledges and debt validate that the cockroach theory is alive and well - what we found is likely just the tip of the iceberg", Muddy Waters' Carson Block said in a statement.

Private equity firm KKR has ruled out a bid for beleaguered hospital operator NMC Health, a day after the FTSE 100 company said it had been approached by the U.S. firm.

The NMC founder Dr. B. R. Shetty's stake in the operator also came under fire.

NMC said it has not had talks on the terms of any potential offer.

Former FBI boss Louis Freeh is leading a separate independent review committee appointed by London-listed NMC to investigate the Muddy Waters allegations.

Chairman Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty is conducting a legal review into the size of his stake, NMC said Monday. "As for the notion that NMC might receive private equity bids, it's hard for us to believe they would survive due diligence".

"If the Muddy Waters allegations are without substance, then the shares present a serious bargain opportunity", the analysts at Align said, while adding that the stock is presently the most oversold on record and it expects a price between 14-17 pounds a share price in a buy-out.

This suggests that the holdings and interests of Dr Shetty, Al Qebaisi and Al Muhairi have been incorrectly reported historically to the company and the market, the statement said.

Shares in NMC have plummeted 70pc in the last two months after it was accused of financial mismanagement by hedge fund Muddy Waters. Ludo Bammens, a spokesman for KKR, wasn't immediately available for comment. The stock is down by 54% so far in 2020 and is valued at GBP1.67 billion versus GBP5.5 billion a year ago.

The board has also repeated its request for clarity from each of the shareholders in relation to the number of shares owned by them which are pledged, otherwise used as security in any form of financial instrument or are subject to other arrangements under which third parties (eg banks, financial institutions etc.) have the ability to sell those shares without prior approval from the respective shareholder, it said. NMC's $107 million redevelopment of NMC Royal Women's Hospital in Abu Dhabi "contains numerous red flags", the short seller said.

Muddy Waters said in December it was "unsure how deep the rot at NMC goes".

Shares in the United Arab Emirates' largest private healthcare company extended losses to touch session lows after the KKR announcement.

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