By Saeed Azhar
DUBAI (Reuters) – The administrators of troubled hospital operator NMC Health <NMC.L> said on Tuesday they had replaced the company’s board and asked its main lender, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), to lead a steering group to discuss cutting its debt pile.
All previous board members, including executive chairman Faisal Belhoul, have been removed, the administrators said.
“We formed a new board with extensive restructuring experience to ensure more robust standards of governance in NMC Health,” joint administrator Richard Fleming said in a statement.
“The board has already met to begin the detailed work necessary to create the governance platform in the group, supporting real stability for NMC’s operating businesses.”
Non-executive directors appointed to the board include Eli Chahin, chief executive of oil and gas group Bowleven, and Philip Gore-Randall, executive chairman of the Forensic Risk Alliance, the administrators said.
NMC said in a separate release that the existing management team led by interim Chief Executive Michael Davis will report to co-chief restructuring officers Antonio Alvarez and Maxim Frangulov, of administrators Alvarez & Marsal.
The move came after the High Court in London placed NMC Health into administration on Thursday on the application of ADCB, one of its biggest lenders.
“A key action will be moving to augment capabilities, particularly in the finance area, where there have been several key departures,” said Alvarez.
Shares in NMC, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest private hospital group, have more than halved in value since December after short-seller Muddy Waters raised concerns over the company’s financial statements.
NMC’s troubles have been compounded by doubts over the size of the shareholdings of major investors, including founder and former co-chairman BR Shetty, who last week said that he is conducting his own investigations.
In its statement NMC said that the steering group would act as the primary contact point between the group’s companies and their debtholders.
NMC Health’s former executive chairman, Faisal Belhoul, issued a statement reiterating his call for an investigation into “any and all prior wrongdoings” at the company and for all involved parties to be held accountable.
“I will do all in my power to support this process, working with the administration team and other partners,” said Belhoul, who is chairman of Ithmar Capital, which owns a 9% stake in NMC.
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, David Goodman and Jan Harvey)