Hero, Dabur offer to invest Rs 1250 crore in Fortis

Fortis shareholders seek better deal from bidders

India's Fortis Healthcare said on Thursday it had received an investment offer worth 12.5 billion rupees (US$191.5 million) from Hero Enterprise Investment Office and the Burman Family Office.

In a regulatory filing, Fortis Healthcare (FHL) said the offer from Munjals and Burmans includes a Rs 500 crore binding offer immediately and Rs 750 crore post-diligence to be completed within three weeks.

The rival bid by IHH would follow Manipal's offer on April 10 to buy Fortis at around 155 rupees (RM9.19) per share, or 80.39 billion rupees, which minority shareholders - including billionaire Indian investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala - had expressed concerns about.

"As part of the proposal, IHH will work with the board and the management of the company to identify optimal financing solutions to enable the company to fulfil its commitments during the challenging phase and stay afloat", the proposal said.

Fortis Healthcare would be in focus today after the company, late yesterday night, received an offer from offices of Munjals and Burmans. "We will put money into the company".

Subsequently, amid reports of growing disappointment of Fortis shareholders and a possible counter bid from IHH, Manipal had sweetened the offer.

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Malaysian investment holding firm IHH Healthcare Bhd plans to bid for India's Fortis Healthcare Ltd at a price marginally better than Manipal Hospitals Enterprises Pvt Ltd's offer, Bloomberg reported today, citing people aware of the matter.

"As the assets of Fortis are good, the company may get more competitive offers in the future", said executive vice-president for markets Sanjiv Bhasin at brokerage India Infoline. Other potential bidders are Radiant Life Care, which is backed by KKR & Co, and Dubai-based VPS Healthcare.

Utilisation of proceeds from this funding shall only be for the purposes of payment of employee dues, repayment of loans which have matured and payment of pressing creditors and to monitor these, a board seat shall be given to investors, it added.

Currently, Munjal and Burmans own about 3% in Fortis, according to Munjal.

Manipal, seeking to expand its presence beyond southern India, first offered to buy Fortis last month, proposing a deal that would give control of the combined company to Manipal Chief Executive Ranjan Pai and US buyout firm TPG Capital. Hospitals business is not a new sector for the Munjals of the Hero group who now run the Dayanand Medical & Nursing College in Ludhiana, which has over 1,500 beds, its bid document said. Earlier in the day, the Fortis stock jumped over 4% on expectations of a formal announcement by IHH.

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