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Sat 4 Apr 2020 03:07 PM

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NMC Health executive chairman calls for patience from creditors

NMC board has appointed PwC to advise on liquidity and operational matters

NMC Health executive chairman calls for patience from creditors

A week into his new position, Belhoul has set out his commitments to the company, its healthcare workforce and their patients, and its shareholders and creditors.

Executive chairman of the UAE’s largest private healthcare provider NMC Health Plc, Faisal Belhoul, has called for patience and prudence from creditors.

A week into his new position, Belhoul has set out his commitments to the company, its healthcare workforce and their patients, and its shareholders and creditors.

That includes calling for a temporary standstill to debt repayments to allow the new management team to prepare and activate a recovery plan for the embattled health company.

He said: “There are considerable downsides to the company and its creditors if we were to be placed into administration. This would cause instability to the operating businesses of the NMC Group, creating additional pressure on the group’s liquidity and reducing value for all creditors.  

“This would be damaging not only to the interests of creditors but, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, would potentially put lives at risk.”

Full cooperation

NMC Health announced last month it found evidence of suspected fraud and debt that had been used for unknown purposes.

Belhoul said he will cooperate with authorities in the UAE and UK to recover misused funds and ensure those involved are prosecuted.

“I recognise the position in which the NMC Group finds itself and, as executive chairman, I will be undertaking a review to strengthen governance and control structures and achieve operational stability for the NMC Group as quickly as possible,” said Belhoul. 

“We are working in full cooperation and in close dialogue with authorities in the UAE and UK, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will vigorously chase down the perpetrators for return of these funds.”

The NMC board has appointed PwC to advise on liquidity and operational matters and appointed Moelis as its independent financial advisor to determine the extent of, and assist in the restructuring of, the company’s debt.

Coronavirus commitment

Belhoul’s appointment was made after the company’s non-executive directors uncovered alleged theft and excess undisclosed borrowings by former directors of the company.

As the largest private healthcare company in the UAE, the group operates more than 200 facilities including 14 centres of excellence, has more than 2,200 hospital beds and a staff of 2,000 doctors in 20 countries.

NMC Group is currently treating hundreds of people suspected of having Covid-19 and in the UAE has screened more than 10,000 workers for the virus in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

The screening programme will include 90 staff testing as many as 200,000 labourers across the Northern Emirates. 

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