NMC Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: From December 16, Abu Dhabi headquartered NMC Healthcare will come under the direct control of its creditors as the hospital operator exits from administration. This will pave the way for the eventual sale of NMC – which was set up by B.R. Shetty in the mid-1970s – to a new owner.

The day will mark the end of a turbulent phase for the UAE’s biggest private healthcare company, starting with the disclosure of financial misdoings in late 2019, and which then led to the exit of then then CEO, its board members and of Shetty himself.

On another track, NMC’s new management rolled out strategies that helped stabilise operations with help from administrators assigned by the turnaround consultancy Alvarez & Marsal. NMC emerged with enhanced reputation operationally during the COVID-19 months.

Even as NMC reverts to ownership by its creditors, there will be parallel investigations that will continue into the whereabouts of $4 billion of bank funds that went missing from the books.

Richard Fleming, Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal Europe llp and Joint Administrator of NMC plc and NMC Healthcare said: “We are looking forward to successfully delivering the new NMC Health out of administration to its new owners on 16 December 2021. It's been a long road and we have had to overcome many obstacles, but we are very grateful to all our stakeholders who have universally rallied behind the NMC team to make it happen."

“We are now entering the finishing straight and need one last effort to pull together the final elements to get over the line. After significant operational and financial restructuring NMC is better placed than ever to take advantage of the new opportunities ahead ensuring that the excellent quality of care offered to patients in the Group’s facilities continues.”

Growth story

The creditors take control of NMC that’s operationally sound – for the first nine months of 2021, gross revenues for the UAE and Oman business came to $915 million (as against 2020’s $816 million) and which is 8 per cent ahead of the business plan. The number of patient consultations across the group was 6.7 million patient encounters in the year to September end. Last year’s tally was 3.7 million patient encounters, but that was also due to the focus being exclusively on COVID-19 and non-elective treatments.

What next?

It will now be the creditors who will decide the next stage of NMC’s re-emergence. They are unlikely to go in for an immediate sale to a bidder, because the company’s financials have improved drastically. From being given no chance at survival after the revelations of billions being diverted by the previous management, NMC has rebuilt itself around the UAE and Oman operations. All non-core operations have, or will be, divested.