The ability to take a risk is often regarded as a necessity for success. But embracing risk during a global crisis may often be regarded as a blunder. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Dubai-based ‘NMC Healthcare’, Prasanth Manghat took a calculated risk two years ago. By proving his mettle he was not only able to list the company on the London Stock Exchange, but scaled up ‘NMC Healthcare’ from a $150 million company (in December 2010) to $1.1 billion in three years. This helped him to win the coveted ‘CFO of the Year Award’ instituted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales recently.
“As a student I was fascinated with literature,” says Prasanth, 38. “Acting, reading and writing were my cup of tea. This may have helped me to nurture a creative mind. In my opinion creativity is necessary in every profession. Creative thinking has helped me a lot whenever I have faced a crisis.”
Prasanth did his schooling in Palakkad and moved to Kochi to pursue his higher studies. After completing his graduation in Mathematics from St Albert’s College, Kochi, he chose Chartered Accountancy, which he completed in 2001.
Prasanth began his career with Kotak Mahindra as Credit Operations head in South India. After a stint of two years, he moved to Neopharma Manufacturing Company as Finance Manager and became CFO in 2007.
Later, he became the CFO of the NMC group and carried out a $350 million expansion plan.
“This was a great challenge, not only for the company, but for me,” he says.
“The aim was to raise $200 million equity and $150 million as debt and listing the company on the London Stock Exchange in 100 days.”
At that time, the global financial crisis was at its zenith, as countries like Greece, Spain and Italy were collapsing by the day. “We had to split the original strategy to Plan A and Plan B,” he says. “Plan A: to go ahead with the expansion, and Plan B to cut it down to a $150 million expansion.”
By December 2011, the crisis had cooled. “The pre-Easter stock market got better, and this gave us a spark of optimism,” says Prasanth. With increased spirits,
Prasanth and his team moved forward with Plan A and ultimately NMC got listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on April 5, 2012.
It became the first company to be listed on the LSE from the Middle East, and is currently listed in the premium segment, as well as the FTSE 250 index.
“Commitment was the single-most important factor which helped me to overcome the crisis,” says Prasanth, who is married to Jyothy Palat and has two children Angha and Anvith.
“There were several situations which may have induced us to roll back the plan. But the creative blend in me may have helped. The energy from the team was also a driving factor.” Following the successful listing, the company had raised $300 million in May this year.
NMC Healthcare, which has 5500 employees, including 550 doctors, is planning to expand to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman in five years.