April 16, 2018 / 6:09 AM / a year ago

Fortis Healthcare's board to consider options amid takeover battle

A Fortis hospital building is pictured in New Delhi, India, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

MUMBAI/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Fortis Healthcare Ltd said on Monday its board would meet on Thursday to consider options after the hospital company became the target of rival takeover bids.

Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Bhd has made a proposed offer for Fortis worth $1.3 billion, while smaller local rival Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt Ltd, has made an offer of about $1.2 billion.

Fortis Healthcare said in a stock exchange filing its board planned to meet on April 19 to “consider all options.”

IHH, one of Asia’s largest healthcare operators, said Fortis Healthcare had declined to engage with it on its offer.

The interest in Fortis comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to implement a healthcare programme aimed at providing insurance cover to about half the population.

The scheme is expected to increase patient numbers at private hospitals such as those run by Manipal and Fortis.

A merger with Manipal, which has a bigger presence in India than IHH, might make more sense, an analyst with a Mumbai brokerage, who did not want to be named, said. Investors would also need more details on the IHH offer, the analyst said.

IHH operates healthcare facilities across nine countries via a network of 49 hospitals including Mount Elizabeth and Gleneagles in Singapore.

Separately, two Indian investors - Sunil Munjal’s Hero Enterprise and the Burman Family Office — offered last week to make an investment worth 12.5 billion rupees ($191.5 million) in Fortis.

Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Mumbai and Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Sunil Nair and Jane Merriman

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