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Sun 5 Apr 2020 08:22 AM

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Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank requests NMC be placed in administration

Embattled NMC has said such a move would endanger lives during coronavirus pandemic

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank requests NMC be placed in administration

NMC’s new executive chairman Faisal Belhoul. Image: Supplied

One of NMC Health Plc’s biggest creditors asked a court to put the troubled hospital operator into administration, prompting the company to counter that such an action would endanger the lives of people living in the United Arab Emirates as the coronavirus rages.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC said Saturday it applied on April 2 to the UK’s High Court for the appointment of administrators to take control of NMC Health and investigate alleged unauthorised activities.

NMC’s new executive chairman Faisal Belhoul had previously asked for patience from creditors, seeking a standstill on debt repayments to give the company time to prepare a recovery plan.

In a later statement, he said he’s open to adding individuals to the board as recommended by ADCB and other creditors, and accused ADCB of disregarding the principles of the informal standstill accord.

“ADCB is putting its own interests above not only other creditors, but also the health and safety of UAE residents amid an escalating pandemic,” Belhoul said. Placing the company in administration would create “considerable downsides” on the community, country, the company and its creditors, he said.

Abu Dhabi-based NMC disclosed last month that its non-executive directors had uncovered alleged theft and excess undisclosed borrowings by former directors.

Trading in the shares has been suspended since February 27, the board has sacked top executives and dismissed board members and banks that lent to the company are facing losses on the debt.

ADCB’s exposure to the healthcare group amounts to around $981 million, Bloomberg reported this week.

“ADCB is committed to protecting its interest and assuring the long-term sustainability of the company as well as its operational effectiveness and non-disruption of its operations,” the bank said in a statement. “The bank will pursue a course of action that supports these aims.”

Belhoul was appointed by the board on March 26, and tasked with steering the company out of the crisis. He is the founder and chairman of Ithmar Capital Partners, which has taken a 9 percent stake in NMC.

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