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IHH offers to invest 40b rupees in Fortis for equity

MALAYSIA'S IHH Healthcare has offered to invest 40 billion rupees (S$796 million) in exchange for equity in the Indian hospital chain Fortis Healthcare.

The offer came ahead of a Thursday meeting by the board of Fortis to consider its options.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday afternoon, Singapore-listed IHH said that on Wednesday, Apr 18, it issued a strictly non-binding letter to the Fortis board, expressing its readiness to infuse up to 40 billion rupees through a preferential allotment of equity shares at a price not exceeding 160 rupees per share.

"The infusion is intended to fund the buyout of the assets from RHT Health Trust as well as provide immediate liquidity towards working capital and infrastructure upgrades," said IHH.

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IHH added that the Fortis board has acknowledged receipt of the letter.

Last week, IHH was reported to have offered to buy Fortis at a price valuing the chain at about US$1.3 billion (S$1.7 billion), higher than the roughly US$1.2 billion valuation offer made by Fortis' Indian rival Manipal Health Enterprises. But Fortis had initially declined to consider other options while it was in talks with Manipal.

On Monday, the board of Fortis said they would meet on Thursday to consider all options.

In a regulatory filing late on Tuesday, Fortis said it had also received a letter from Chinese conglomerate Fosun International offering to invest up to US$350 million, or 156 rupees per Fortis share, in return for less than a quarter of the firm.