Sohar International, Tageer Finance reveal exposure to NMC

Omani lender Sohar International Bank and Muscat-based financial services firm Tageer Finance Company announced on Monday exposures totalling around RO 4.7 million to NMC Healthcare LLC, the UAE based healthcare services provider, which is the subject of international court action amid allegations of financial fraud.

Sohar International Bank (formerly Bank Sohar) said in a filing to the Capital Market Authority (CMA) that it has direct exposure to Abu Dhabi headquartered NMC with an outstanding amount of RO 3.45 million in the form of a syndicated facility sanctioned in May 2018.

Ahmed al Musalmi, CEO, said the Bank had spurned multiple applications for further credit from NMC.  “During 2019, the Bank had rejected multiple requests from the company for additional credit facilities worth RO 43 million, including rejecting to roll over the maturing loan, which and was intead paid in December 2019.  The prudent and diligent measures taken by the Bank not only significantly reduced the exposure, but also avoided a substantial increase of exposure to the company.”

Sohar International Bank is considering all options and measures, including enforcement of legal rights to ensure the realisation of the outstanding amount, he added.

Tageer Finance, which is engaged in the business of providing leasing, debt factoring, bridge loan and construction loans, said it has outstandings to date to the tune of RO 1.228 million owed by NMC Healthcare.

Significantly, a total of four Oman-based publicly traded firms have come forward to disclose varying degrees of exposure to the troubled UAE based healthcare services provider. On Sunday, HSBC Bank Oman SAOG (HBON) announced it had exposure to NMC Healthcare LLC to the tune of $16 million. Earlier, Bank Nizwa, the first sharia-compliant Islamic bank in the Sultanate, had revealed that it had extended RO 5 million in direct financing to Elegant Medical Centre LLC, which is 34.3 per cent indirectly owned by NMC Healthcare UAE through its subsidiaries, for sole operation in the Sultanate.

Last week, a High Court judge in the UK placed HMC Healthcare, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), into administration, citing serious financial and management irregularities in the running of the group.  NMC, which had a market value of $10 billion at its peak, is being run by administrators Alvarez & Marsal Inc following demands by an array of creditors. It has revealed more than $4 billion of undisclosed borrowings, pushing its total of debt to $6.6 billion.

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