INDIAN TYCOONS OFFER TO INVEST $192 MILLION IN FORTIS HEALTH

Fortis Healthcare Ltd. said it has received a joint investment proposal from two Indian business families, intensifying a race to gain control of the country’s second-largest private hospital chain.

Hero Enterprise Investment Office and the Burman Family Office have made a binding offer to invest a total of 12.5 billion rupees ($192 million) through a preferential share allotment at at least 156 rupees a share, according to a Fortis exchange filing. The proposal, which is subject to certain conditions, includes an immediate investment of 5 billion rupees and 7.5 billion rupees after diligence is completed within three weeks.

The race for Fortis is heating up as a TPG-backed Indian firm sweetened its initial offer that values the company at 155 rupees a share, and IHH Healthcare Bhd. proposed a bid of up to 160 rupees apiece. The competing proposals are the latest twist in the Fortis saga, with India’s fraud watchdog and stock regulator probing the company after Bloomberg News reported that its founders took at least 5 billion rupees out of the company without board approval.

Fortis shares fell 1.2 percent to 152.05 rupees in Mumbai.

Competing Offers

“As the assets of Fortis are good, the company may get more competitive offers in the future,” said Sanjiv Bhasin, executive vice president for markets at brokerage India Infoline Ltd. “It has potential to move up to 175 rupees a share.”

IHH has expressed interest in Fortis, the Indian company said in a filing after the close of trading. Bloomberg News reported that IHH has proposed a potential bid of as much as $1.3 billion for Fortis. The proposal is subject to satisfactory completion of diligence, IHH said in its letter dated April 11 to Fortis attached to the filing.

“IHH brings an impeccable reputation, high corporate governance standards, deep financial resources and strong operational expertise hone through successfully running hospitals globally coupled with a proven track record in India,” the Southeast Asian operator of hospitals said. “And will be the best suited partner for the company to tide through the current crisis.”

Source: Bloomberg

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