x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

NMC Health set to raise up to $281m

NMC Health is expected to raise as much as $281 million from global investors after setting the pricing for its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The UAE hospital operator NMC Health is expected to raise as much as US$281 million (Dh1.03bn) from global investors after setting the pricing for its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The company's shares will be priced between 200 and 280 pence, allowing it to raise a total of $175m to $281m when it goes to market in a few weeks' time, said a source.

NMC announced two weeks ago its intention to raise $250m from the listing on the London exchange.

The company began roadshows in the British capital this week, to be followed by further investor meetings in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt and the United States.

The pricing reflected a realisation that the pre-crisis valuations for private-sector IPOs in the Emirates were unlikely to return, said Yazan Abdeen, a fund manager at ING Investment Management.

"Finally, we're having a reasonably priced IPO," Mr Abdeen said. "The promoters are leaving money on the table for investors, in our opinion."

This compared with large numbers of stocks on the Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets trading below their IPO pricing, he added. "The conclusion is that the majority of these stocks' IPOs were exaggerated"

But the lower end of the pricing range for NMC reflected a "very appealing investment story", said Mr Abdeen.

The company expects to list a minimum 25 per cent of its shares to comply with requirements for its premium listing, with a 15 per cent over-allotment option allowing for sales of additional shares in the event of high demand.

The "green-shoe option" allows banks to steady a company's post-IPO performance by releasing additional shares to the market.

Deutsche Bank is coordinating and acting as book-runner for the deal, with the London-based Numis Securities and Dubai's Shuaa Capital acting as joint lead managers.

NMC is targeting FTSE 250 inclusion alongside investment from emerging-market fund managers, many of whom do not track the UAE.

Ahmed Beydoun, the head of Deutsche Bank's regional equity division, said last week he expected demand from Middle East investors, emerging-market investors and specialist healthcare investors.

The company is 30 per cent controlled by its founder, Dr BR Shetty, a billionaire Indian businessman.

The remaining shares are divided between Saeed bin Butti, Khalifa bin Butti, and Infinite Investment, a company they jointly own.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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