BlackBerry maker may sell handset business

Updated 23 January 2013
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BlackBerry maker may sell handset business

OTTAWA: The Canadian government might have to review any sale of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd’s handset business to a foreign buyer, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said.
Asked if he would allow such a sale to a foreign company, Paradis said: “It’s speculation and each decision on each case is based on its own merit, so it would premature for me to speculate on any of these kinds of cases.
“So if something was going to occur, then we would have to determine if it was reviewable or not, depending on the threshold (of the value of the transaction), and then we go with the net-benefit test.”
He was referring to a provision in the Investment Canada Act that requires the government to determine whether certain foreign investments in Canada are of net benefit to the country.
The markets have gained renewed excitement over RIM because of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system and because Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said its strategic review could potentially lead to the sale of its handset business.
“We hope to see RIM remain a global leader and player, and make sure it can grow organically,” Paradis said by phone from Germany, where he is meeting with industrial leaders to promote Canada as a place to invest and to learn how they innovate.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last February that he wanted to see RIM grow “as a Canadian company.”
He singled out hostile takeovers and bids for what he described as “critical technology” companies as ones that Ottawa might block.
On a separate topic, Paradis said the government did not intend at present to lift foreign ownership restrictions on Canada’s large telephone companies.
In March, it eliminated foreign ownership restrictions on telecommunications carriers with a market share of 10 percent or less. But the rules remained for large companies including BCE Inc, Rogers Communications Inc, Telus Corp. and Shaw Communications Inc.
For such companies, foreign ownership is limited to 20 percent of voting shares and indirect control to 46.7 percent.
He said if Canada were to change rules for the large telecom carriers, it would get tangled up with separate rules on broadcasting companies, which are required to have a minimum of Canadian broadcasting content.
“This is not in the cards of our government to go further down this road as we speak,” he said.


NMC Health’s $450 million bond to boost Saudi expansion

Updated 18 min 47 sec ago
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NMC Health’s $450 million bond to boost Saudi expansion

LONDON: The UAE-based private health care operator NMC Health has launched a $450 million senior unsecured guaranteed bond to help pay off an existing $1 billion bridge facility and support its expansion plans into Saudi Arabia.

The earlier bridging loan was part of the $2 billion capital structure refinancing put in place at the start of the year, the company said.

The bond is due in 2025 and is convertible into ordinary shares. JP Morgan is the sole bookrunner on the issuance. Bonds will have a fixed coupon rate of 1.875 percent, paid semi-annually.

The new capital structure — which will feature a mixture of unsecured bank and bond financing — will aid the company’s continued growth into Saudi Arabia, with NMC having been one of the first private health care providers to capitalize on the Saudi government’s health care privatization plans.

The company first secured a foothold in the Kingdom in 2016 after acquiring a 70 percent stake in As Salama Hospital in Al-Khobar.

Since then, NMC won regulatory approval last September for a new long-term care facility, the Chronic Care Specialty Medical Center, in Jeddah. It is though to be the first greenfield medical facility in the Kingdom to be set up by a non-Saudi company.

Earlier this year, NMC said it acquired an 80 percent stake in the Riyadh-based Al-Salam Medical Group.

NMC’s acquisition-led expansion strategy aims to ensure the company retains its recently-won place on London’s FTSE 100 index. It was one of the first Middle Eastern companies to join the index when it qualified last September. It first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2012.

The company posted strong growth in the last year, reporting $209.3 million in net profit for 2017, an increase of 38.2 percent on the previous year. The company paid out a total of $641 million in acquisitions last year.

“2017 proved to be a year of tremendous achievements for NMC,” said the firm’s chief executive Prasanth Manghat, in a statement in March.

NMC also secured secured its first public ratings of BB+ with a stable outlook from S&P on April 20, while Moody’s gave the firm rating of Ba1 with a stable outlook on April 20, 2018. The bonds are not expected to be rated.

“The company continues to strive to meet self-imposed standards that are higher when compared to what is expected of it by various regulators. This approach supports in turn its resilient business model, loyal customer base, strong brand recognition and market leading position,” according to a statement from Moody’s Investors Service.

Investors are so far reacting favorably to NMC’s strategy, with the company closing at a record high on April 20, according to Bloomberg reports, with a market value of $10.8 billion.

The company is now one of 24 equities in the region to have achieved a market capitalization of more than $10 billion, the report said.

Healthcare is seen as a lucrative sector in the Gulf due to its relatively wealthy population becoming increasingly at risk of problems related to obesity and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.