NMC Health’s debts are more than double the level previously thought after advisers discovered an additional $2.7bn (£2.1bn) of borrowing that the company’s bosses said they were not told about.
The FTSE 100 hospital operator, whose shares are suspended from trading after a raft of secret loan guarantees were uncovered, said on Monday that some of the newly disclosed loans may not have been used for company purposes.
In the latest of a regular stream of stock market updates into its precarious finances, the Abu Dhabi-based company said: “In addition to $2.1bn group debt reported at 30 June 2019, the company has identified over $2.7bn in facilities that had previously not been disclosed to or approved by the board.”
The loans were disclosed just eight days after NMC hired Moelis, a boutique investment bank, and PwC, the consultancy, to help it negotiate a standstill agreement with its lenders.
The company said it was continuing to work with the firms to establish “the exact nature and quantum of the undisclosed facilities”.
London-listed NMC – which has no executive directors left on its board after a spate of exits including the sacking of its chief executive – faces the risk of banks calling in debts after it revealed three of its major shareholders hold less than 30pc of its stock, potentially triggering a “change of control” clause in loan agreements.
The firm, which is under investigation by the City watchdog, said it had now paid all staff their salaries for February.
Employees were due to be paid on Feb 25 but many were still waiting for their wages last week after the company was hit by a cash crunch and its finance chief was granted extended sick leave. Acting chief executive Michael Davis apologised last week for the “payroll issue”.
NMC said it was “fully focused on safeguarding its operational liquidity to continue funding existing operations”.
The company had “a strong operating start to the year” and had treated more than 900,000 patients in January and February, it said.