February 11, 2020 / 7:39 AM / 15 days ago

KKR rules out offer for NMC, Italian-backed group confirms interest

(Reuters) - Private equity firm KKR (KKR.N) on Tuesday said it does not intend to make an offer for troubled NMC Health (NMC.L) but Italian-backed GKSD Investment Holding confirmed it could bid.

General view of NMC specialty hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Shares in the United Arab Emirates’ largest private healthcare company extended losses to touch session lows after the KKR announcement.

By 1030 GMT, they were down 16% on the London Stock Exchange and set to lose half the gains made when NMC disclosed the approaches on Monday. NMC could not be immediately reached for comment on KKR’s statement.

NMC has been in turmoil since short-seller Muddy Waters queried its financial statements two months ago, sending its shares spiralling two-thirds lower.

NMC disclosed preliminary buyout approaches from KKR & Co Inc and GK Investment on Monday.

It said separately on Monday that its co-chair and founder BR Shetty had stepped back from its board after he informed NMC of potentially inaccurate reporting of his holdings.

NMC, which listed in London in 2012 and was promoted to the blue chip FTSE 100 index in 2017, operates clinics and hospitals, specialized maternity and fertility clinics, and long-term care homes hospitals across 19 countries.

GKSD, an investment vehicle backed by sponsors of Italy’s private hospital chain Gruppo San Donato (GSD), said it was in the preliminary stages of considering an offer for NMC.

GSD, founded here in 1957, operates research hospitals, general hospitals and clinics in 44 locations across Italy and calls itself the country's largest private hospital group.

GKSD is being advised by GK Investment, which made the approach to NMC on its behalf, the firm said. Rothschild & Co and Goldman Sachs are also acting as advisers.

Lugano, Switzerland-based GK, focuses on investments primarily in Africa and the Middle East across multiple sectors. Historically, it has invested in oil service assets in Italy and the Middle East, its website www.gkinvest.com/en shows.

Reuters reported here last year that NMC was also the target of two groups, one backed by China's Fosun, looking to buy a 40% stake in it.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Bernard Orr and Keith Weir

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