December 18, 2019 / 7:33 AM / a month ago

UAE's NMC Health reaffirms outlook after Muddy Waters attack

(Reuters) - NMC Health Plc (NMC.L) stood by its forecasts for 2019 and 2020 and announced a share buyback on Wednesday, seeking to reassure investors after a report from U.S. short-selling firm Muddy Waters wiped a third off the healthcare group’s market value.

The UAE-based company said it would look into the firm’s findings and provide a detailed response in due course, calling the criticism of its financial statements “baseless”.

The short seller on Tuesday questioned the value of NMC’s assets and cash balance as well as its reported profits and debts in a research note.

“NMC understands its regulatory disclosure obligations and has nothing to add to disclosures already made,” the company said in a statement.

The Muddy Waters attack also hit shares of payments firm Finablr (FINF.L), which is co-chaired by Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty - also the founder and co-chairman of NMC.

Finablr on Wednesday said it was on track to meet its guidance and said there was no reason for the share move.

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.

It took its first short position in a London-listed company in August with a bet against litigation funder Burford Capital (BURF.L).

NMC Health separately said it would buy back up to $200 million worth of the company’s ordinary shares.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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