NMC Health: short-seller says offers "hard to believe"

UAE's NMC gets takeover approaches, chairman suspended from board discussions

UAE's NMC gets takeover approaches, chairman suspended from board discussions

The company said Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and GK Investment made "highly preliminary" approaches, following a report in the Mail on Sunday that said KKR held talks with NMC in recent weeks about a 2 billion-pound ($2.6 billion) takeover but couldn't agree on the price.

However, the statement added that the "announcement does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer and accordingly there can be no certainty that an offer will made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made".

NMC Health shares were trading 3.2% lower early on Tuesday in London at 897.00 pence each, after closing up 32% on Monday. The stock fell back 14pc to 797p on Tuesday morning after KKR said it was not interested - erasing much of this gain.

It also said its founder and chairman, the Indian billionaire BR Shetty, is conducting a legal review into potential historical inaccuracies relating to his own stake in the firm and those of three other major shareholders.

NMC has been hit by turbulence since USA short-seller Muddy Waters queried its financial statements two months ago, sending its shares spiralling two-thirds lower.

The firm was this week plunged into fresh chaos after admitting it does not know how many shares are owned by founder Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, and that the market may have been misled over the size of his stake. The shareholdings of two of NMC's other top four investors could also be affected.

NMC said it had asked Shetty and Al Muhairi "to absent themselves from further board discussions until clarification of these matters and pending a board decision about their ongoing roles as directors of the company". NMC said they could also be kicked out permanently as directors.

The crisis - which has sparked inquiries from the Financial Conduct Authority watchdog - reinforces his suspicion that NMC has debt which has not been publicly disclosed.

NMC shares were up 5% to 738.8p by Monday afternoon.

While NMC officials could not be immediately reached for comment on KKR's statement, the healthcare group's founder BR Shetty's spokesperson declined to comment on the developments when Khaleej Times contacted him.

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