Mumbai: Businessmen Sunil Munjal and Anand Burman, who have received Fortis Healthcare Ltd’s board’s approval to buy the troubled hospital operator, may not opt for an outright sale of the company’s SRL Diagnostics unit, as initially planned, and instead raise funds through a rights issue to buy RHT Holdings, a trust which holds Fortis’s real estate assets.
According to the terms set by Fortis’s board, the acquirer has to pay Rs4,600 crore to buy RHT Holdings and also buy out private equity investors in SRL.
“The rights issue suggestions came from the shareholders. They said they would like to participate in the rights issue for the future growth of the company. Munjal-Burmans got confidence since investors are willing to put in money... so they modified the proposal," a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, requesting anonymity.
The move comes as a boost to the Munjal-Burman duo whose offer to buy Fortis will be voted on by shareholders on Tuesday. Shareholders may get confused after TPG-backed Manipal Healthcare submitted a sweetened bid for the hospital chain on 15 May—days after Fortis board chose the Munjal-Burman duo as the preferred bidder among five suitors that also included TPG-Manipal.
“One thing we know is that both these operations (Fortis and SRL) need serious amount of attention to build them up to where they need to go. SRL is the largest diagnostics chain in the country. It has plenty of potential. So, we can look at it as a possible divestment but that is not from the point of view of cash or liquidity. We will take the decision based on what the business need is. Once we talk to board and management of SRL and understand what their plan is and if the plan looks fantastic and or it can be modified to look fantastic, of course, it should stay. We are not walking in with the hard point of view on this," Sunil Munjal, chairman of Hero Enterprise, said last week.
“These decisions will not be taken out of desperation or lack of liquidity. If it makes sense, we will do it," he added.
Munjal and Burman could not be immediately reached on Sunday.
TPG-Manipal’s offer to infuse Rs2,100 crore is now pegged at Rs180 per share against an earlier proposal of investing the amount at Rs160. TPG-Manipal, in the new offer, said they believe it will be difficult for the Fortis board to get approval of 75% shareholders of Fortis for the offer by Munjal-Burman. Till Sunday, Fortis board had not discussed the new proposal by TPG-Manipal. If the Fortis shareholders reject the offer made by Munjal and Burman, there is a chance that the sale process will start all over again.
On Tuesday, Fortis shareholders will also vote to remove the current board of directors.