Two well-informed sources said that the British Ashmore Group, director of investment in emerging markets, is interested in a contract to operate the chain of “NMC Health” hospitals that are suffering troubles in the Emirates.
One source said the Ashmore offer did not include the acquisition of NMC Health, the London-listed holding company that was placed under administrative custody last month after the turmoil for months.
The two sources indicated that Ashmore, whose direct investment arm is focused on the healthcare sector, is a potential bidder seeking to conclude a hospital management deal.
The investor is already present in the Emirates after entering King’s College Hospital London to Dubai through a joint venture with Al Tayer Group, Dubai Investment and Ashmore.
NMC was founded in the mid-1970s by the Indian businessman P.R. Shetty, to become the largest private healthcare provider in the Emirates, but ran into trouble after Maddy Waters questioned the short sale in its financial reports and after doubts arose over the size of the shares of its largest shareholder.
In March, NMC, which borrowed from a total of 80 domestic and foreign banks, disclosed a debt of $ 6.6 billion, up from 2.1 billion in June last year.
Ashmore and Alvarez and Marshall’s office, co-guardians appointed to the NMC management, declined to comment.
The interest in the management of NMC Hospitals comes after the guardians initiated a process to sell “NMC” Trade, the distribution arm of the holding company, the sources said.
A spokesman for “NMC” confirmed that the company is exploring various options regarding the “NMC” Trade Unit (UAE), which it considers non-essential.
“The management team’s priority is on the stability of the company and the continued provision of care in its hospitals and medical centers,” the spokesman said in an email.
The group’s distribution activity is separate from its main activity in hospitals and medical centers in the Emirates.
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