x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

NMC Healthcare's public offering galvanising attention

NMC Healthcare, an Abu Dhabi healthcare company, is expected to enjoy strong demand from Middle Eastern investors when it begins its $250 million initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

NMC Healthcare, an Abu Dhabi healthcare company, is expected to enjoy strong demand from Middle Eastern investors when it begins its US$250 million (Dh918.3m) initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

NMC Healthcare announced last Thursday its plan to list in London, in a deal that values the company at about $1 billion.

"The demand … is going to come from regional clients, specialist healthcare clients and FTSE-specialised funds in the UK," said Ahmed Beydoun, the regional head of Deutsche Bank's equity business, which is organising the sale.

"It's going to be a combination of both."

"We've seen interest on all these three different fronts," he said. "How the split is going to be when it comes to the book build is still too early to say." Investors were keen to tap into the booming populations and growing middle class in the region, particularly in the healthcare and education industries, Mr Beydoun added.

"If you look at the UAE market specifically, it's very under-represented in the demographic growth that's going to come," he said.

NMC Healthcare chose an overseas listing because of the higher liquidity available on the London market, where it is expected to gain FTSE 250 inclusion and easier access to emerging-market investors.

The UAE's exchanges, by contrast, have experienced a drastic fall in liquidity since the onset of the global financial crisis.

There has been a modest recovery in values and volume since January.

The Emirates missed an upgrade to "emerging market" status twice last year from MSCI, an index provider used as a benchmark by firms managing $3 trillion of assets.

Deutsche Bank is sole sponsor, global coordinator and book runner for the deal, alongside Shuaa Capital and Numis Securities, which are joint lead managers. At present, NMC Healthcare is 30 per cent owned by BR Shetty, the firm's founder and chief executive, with the remaining shares split between Khalifa bin Butti, Saeed bin Butti and Infinite Investment, a firm they jointly own.

Listing requirements mean that the firm must float at least a 25 per cent stake of its shares as part of the premium listing, which also requires a higher standard of corporate governance.

ghunter@thenational.ae