(Reuters) – NMC Health shares leapt about a third in value on Monday, recouping some of their recent losses, after the healthcare group said it would launch an independent review of its finances following criticism by short-selling firm Muddy Waters.
NMC <NMC.L>, the largest private healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates, said the review would be undertaken by an unidentified accounting firm and overseen by a committee of independent NMC non-executive directors.
Muddy Waters took a short position in NMC last week and questioned the value of its assets and cash balance, as well as reported profits and debts, triggering a plunge in NMC’s shares from over 26 pounds to less than 13 pounds.
The stock was last up 35% at about 17.40 pounds, on track for its biggest ever daily gain.
Short selling involves borrowing an asset and selling it with the aim of buying it back at a cheaper price and making a profit. About 10% of NMC’s outstanding shares were part of short positions as of Dec. 13, according to FIS data.
“We are confident that this review, when complete, will be entirely confirmatory of the disclosures provided by the company to date,” NMC said.
Muddy Waters said in a statement that NMC should also engage a law firm as part of its review, and make both the scope of the review and the full report by the investigation firm public.
NMC, which in 2012 became the first from Abu Dhabi to list on the London Stock Exchange, last week stood by its 2019 and 2020 forecasts, and issued a detailed response to the allegations from Muddy Waters.
Muddy Waters, founded by American Carson Block, is known in financial markets for declaring short equity positions on the basis of its in-house research.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Maiya Keidan, Abhinav Ramnarayan and Iain Withers; Editing by Mark Potter and Susan Fenton)