Fortis again pushes back date to complete RHT Health deal; auditor resigns
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Fortis Healthcare Ltd has extended for a second time the deadline to complete the acquisition of Indian clinics and hospitals held by Singapore-listed RHT Health Trust.

India's second-largest hospital chain said in a stock exchange filing on Monday it has pushed back the deadline by almost three months to 26 March 2019. The deadline was to expire today.

The original deadline to complete the deal was 30 September. In August, Fortis extended the deadline for the first time citing its efforts to raise funds for the transaction.

In November last year, Fortis had said it planned to purchase RHT Health’s assets for Rs 4,650 crore ($711 million then), including debt of Rs 1,152 crore, five years after the hospital chain had spun off those assets into the business trust.

The deal was aimed at consolidating the entire portfolio of RHT Health, comprising two hospitals, 12 clinics and four new clinics into Fortis. These hospitals and clinics are operated by RHT Health subsidiaries International Hospital Ltd, Fortis Health Management Ltd, Fortis Hospotel Ltd, Escorts Hearth and Super Speciality Hospital Ltd, and Hospitalia Eastern Pvt. Ltd. 

RHT Health had listed its units on the Singapore Exchange in 2012 after raising S$510.7 million ($419 million then) through a public offering. This was the largest IPO of a business trust sponsored by an Indian company in Singapore and the second-largest primary listing in Singapore that year.

In July this year, Fortis had accepted a proposal from Malaysia's IHH Healthcare Berhad to inject as much as Rs 7,300 crore ($1.06 billion then) into the Indian hospital chain, making it the largest investment in the South Asian nation's healthcare sector. The Indian company chose IHH after a months-long bidding war that attracted four other suitors.

New auditor, vice chairman

Meanwhile, Fortis also said that Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP has resigned as the company's auditor with immediate effect. It didn't give any reason for Deloitte's resignation.

The Fortis board has approved the appointment of BSR & Co. LLP as the new auditor.

The company has also appointed Shirish Moreshwar Apte as an director on its board and its vice chairman with immediate effect.

Apte was appointed to the board of IHH Healthcare in September 2014. He also serves on the boards of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Fullerton India Credit Company Ltd, among others. Apte is a Citigroup veteran and retired from the multinational financial services giant in 2014 as chairman of Asia-Pacific banking unit after a 32-year career. 

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