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Tue 21 Apr 2020 08:35 PM

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NMC Health backer weighs strategic options, debt revamp

Abu Dhabi-based KBBO Group is being advised by KPMG on ways to restructure its debt, according to reports

NMC Health backer weighs strategic options, debt revamp

Abu Dhabi-based KBBO Group was once one of NMC Health Plc’s biggest shareholders.

Abu Dhabi-based KBBO Group, once one of NMC Health Plc’s biggest shareholders, plans to restructure its debt and is weighing strategic options for the business, people familiar with the matter said.

KPMG LLP is advising the privately-held investment firm on the asset review along with ways to address the company’s debt load, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The company plans to negotiate with its creditors under a process supervised by the United Arab Emirates’ Financial Restructuring Committee, which was set up in 2018 to oversee out-of-court financial restructurings, one of the people said. It’s not immediately clear how much debt KBBO is looking to restructure.

KBBO chairman Khalifa Bin Butti Omeir Al Muhairi stepped down as vice-chairman of embattled NMC in February amid confusion over the exact size of his stake in the hospital operator, which is being run by administrators Alvarez & Marsal Inc. after it succumbed to creditor demands.

Stake Sale

Al Muhairi had pledged NMC shares as collateral against loans, according to a December 2017 filing. He sold a combined 15 percent stake in the company along with former director Saeed Mohamed Butti Mohamed Khalfan Al Qebaisi in January.

Deliberations over the debt restructuring are at an early stage, and no final decisions have been made on what actions will be taken, the people said. KBBO and KPMG declined to comment. Representatives for the central bank, the ministries of finance and economy -- all members of the Financial Restructuring Committee -- didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

NMC shares plunged since mid-December before being suspended amid allegations of fraud. KBBO and some of NMC’s other major shareholders also held a significant stake in financial services firm Finablr Plc, which has also been suspended.

KBBO invests in a wide range of sectors from healthcare to financial services. It has a venture with Guggenheim Partners LLP offering advisory services to local family offices and institutional investors. The company also holds stakes in food retailers, private schools and owns “one of the largest privately owned art collections” in the Gulf with pieces by Matisse and Picasso, according to its website.

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