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UAE’s largest healthcare provider NMC considers re-entering Saudi market after ‘painful’ exit

RIYADH: NMC Healthcare CEO Michael Davis deals with the patients’ pain all the time. And now he himself feels the pain in many good ways.

The UAE’s largest private health care provider is taking a series of painful choices to restructure the business starting with its exit from Saudi Arabia.

“Exiting Saudi Arabia was a very difficult and painful decision for me personally and for the organization,” he told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

“Since I’ve moved to the UAE 10 years ago, I’ve been to Saudi Arabia more than a hundred times. I’ve probably been to areas of Saudi Arabia that other Saudis may not have been to,” he added

Davis said that the company may consider re-entering the Saudi market after selling its stake to Saudi Medical Care Group.

“When we exited the Saudi joint venture, we knew that it was in the best interest of NMC as a whole,” he said, reiterating his belief that Saudi Arabia is still a crucial market for his company. 

NMC’s 34 assets have been transferred to a new holding company and this means that NMC Healthcare is in a better and stronger position, says its CEO. (File)

“I’m still personally very interested in the success of the Saudi portfolio that we have exited. I can also see under this new board of directors and under our growth plan, an opportunity later to re-enter into Saudi, but probably not into the multi-specialty hospital space. Perhaps in one of the subspecialty spaces, like long-term care, in vitro fertilization, or cosmetics and aesthetics,” Davis said.

Painful restructuring

NMC has agreed to the sale of its 53 percent stake in SMGC, offloading the last of its international businesses as part of a creditor-approved restructuring.

Davis also revealed that NMC has achieved the best financial results since it was founded 47 years thanks to the board of directors’ restructuring program and despite the scandal incident.

“In 2020 and 2021, we’ve posted the best operational and financial results the company has ever seen in its 47 year history. None of us can forget all of this occurred on the precipice of the worst pandemic the world has seen in over 100 years. So, over the last two years, the company has battled fraud. We’ve successfully managed administration.

We’ve successfully managed and contributed to the battle against COVID-19 here in the UAE and Oman, and we’ve come out of this in a much better place,” Davis added.

“After entered administration, we received around $375 million worth of financing from our investors. I think this along with the support of 95-percent of our creditors is a vote of confidence that basically said, ‘we believe in this company,’” he added.

Davis voiced full confidence in the ability of NMC to overcome all financial difficulties.

“We believe that what we are doing is relevant, not only from a clinical and a social perspective but also from a financial perspective. This is a business that did over $1.2 billion worth of top line in 2021 and $206 million worth of adjusted EBITDA. So, when you look at those results, this is a very, very strong business with five-and-a-half million individual patient encounters per year. It’s an attractive business for any investor,” he noted.

He added that NMC’s 34 assets have been …….


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