Singh brothers pare stake in Fortis Healthcare
Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh | Photo Credit: Reuters

Brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Mohan Singh have sold a small chunk of their shares in Fortis Healthcare Ltd on the open market, even as they struggle to find an investor to buy the entire hospital chain.

The Singh brothers sold a 2.67% stake in Fortis to multiple investors, including Norwegian sovereign wealth fund Government Pension Fund Global, on Tuesday for Rs 204 crore, stock-exchange data showed.

The brothers and other promoter group entities held a 42.9% stake in Fortis before the share sale. Of the promoter holding, more than four-fifth is pledged with financial institutions.

It could not be immediately ascertained if the pledged shares were invoked in this transaction or the promoters sold the free shares with them.

Fortis shares gained 1.7% to Rs 151.35 apiece on a day when the benchmark Sensex fell 1.1%.

The brothers have been trying to dispose of their assets, including their stake in Fortis, for close to a year now to help reduce their debt.

A Fortis spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment late on Tuesday evening.

The share sale comes less than a month after the Delhi High Court allowed the brothers to sell their stake in Fortis provided the previously disclosed value of their unencumbered assets did not change.

The brothers had moved the court in August 2016 challenging an order by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, which had slapped a fine of Rs 2,563 crore ($385 million) on them for concealing facts when they had sold their stake in erstwhile Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd to Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd in 2008.

They had argued that the arbitration award to Daiichi Sankyo cannot be enforced under Indian law.

Subsequently, Daiichi Sankyo challenged the proposed sale of Fortis before the fine owed to them was settled.

Meanwhile, the brothers are yet to reach an agreement with any buyer for the sale of Fortis Healthcare.

On 23 June, Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare said it was nowhere close to a deal with Fortis. Other potential investors, including a consortium of private equity firms TPG and General Atlantic, had also paused talks with Fortis after IHH Healthcare emerged as a front-runner.

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