Fortis Healthcare and Sri Lanka's Asiri Hospitals on Thursday denied reports they were in talks to sell hospitals to the Indian firm and a Fortis offical said the island nation was not a priority.
India's Business Standard newspaper reported Fortis was close to a deal with Asiri to buy three hospitals for 20-25 billion rupees ($43-$54 million), citing investment banking sources.
"We deny we are in talks with the said company," Sudarshan Mazumdar, a spokesman for Fortis, said over the telephone.
"There is nothing like that absolutely," Asiri group's Chairman Ashoka Pathirage said.
"We talk with many parties at the moment, but there is absolutely nothing like that (talks with Fortis), Pathirage said."
Another Fortis official, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters that Sri Lanka could be served by the chain's hospitals in south and east India.
"Sri Lanka is not a priority for us," the official said. "The very fact that we have properties in east and in Chennai means we can leverage them for patients from Sri Lanka."
Fortis has a hospital in the southern city of Chennai, which is less than two hours flight time away from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Fortis has said it would buy hospitals in India and neighbouring countries as it looks to expand its chain beyond its northern India home-base.
It most recently agreed to take over 10 hospitals from Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd, some of them in Mumbai and Bangalore, a deal that would take its network to 58 hospitals with 5,180 beds.
Shares in Fortis were up as much as 5.6 percent in morning trade, before easing to 3.8 percent up on the day at 121.85 rupees by 3:01 p.m. The Mumbai market was up 0.48 percent.
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