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Fri 21 Feb 2020 12:19 PM

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UAE's NMC Health founder hires bank to weigh debt, M&A options

The investment bank is working with BRS Ventures Investment to revamp debt and seek potential investment partners or sell assets from the portfolio, which holds 30 companies including hospital operator NMC and financial services firm Finablr Plc, according to the people.

UAE's NMC Health founder hires bank to weigh debt, M&A options

NMC Health Plc founder Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty hired Houlihan Lokey Inc. to explore strategic options for his holding company, including a potential debt restructuring or the sale of some assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investment bank is working with BRS Ventures Investment to revamp debt and seek potential investment partners or sell assets from the portfolio, which holds 30 companies including hospital operator NMC and financial services firm Finablr Plc, according to the people.

The borrowing of the holding company includes a loan of about $1 billion that was used to acquire Travelex Holdings Ltd., said the people, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. Representatives for BRS Ventures and Houlihan Lokey declined to comment.

Shetty this week resigned from the board of NMC amid investor concern he faced a margin call and misrepresented his stake in the hospital operator. Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a review of Shetty’s holdings at his request.

NMC operates the largest medical network in the United Arab Emirates and in 2012 became the first Abu Dhabi company to list in London. Shares in the company have plunged since Muddy Waters Capital LLC released a report criticizing its accounts in December and the firm is now the focus of takeover speculation.

Carson Block’s Muddy Waters has alleged that NMC’s financial statements hint at potential over payment for assets, inflated cash balances and understated debt. NMC has called those claims unfounded.

BRS Ventures, based in the United Arab Emirates, doesn’t report consolidated financials, preventing a complete analysis of his net worth. Shetty’s other assets include a catering company, a waste-management firm and pharmaceutical business Neopharma, which four months ago was in the early stages of planning for an initial public offering.

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