IHH TIGHT-LIPPED ON FORTIS DEAL IN INDIA
Strong financial position allows firm to act when opportunities arise, says MD
IHH Healthcare Bhd, Asia’s largest private healthcare group, is keeping mum about reports that it may buy India’s second-largest hospital chain, Fortis Group.
“We don’t comment on specific deals,” said IHH managing director and chief executive officer Dr Tan See Leng.
“Our strong balance sheet and financial position allow us to take advantage when opportunities arise,” he said after a shareholders meeting, here, yesterday.
The Economic Times of India reported yesterday IHH had emerged as the front-runner for the controlling stakes in the healthcare assets of Malvinder and Shivinder Singh of Religare Enterprises Ltd, who both hold 52.3 per cent in Fortis.
The other contender is a consortium of TPG and General Atlantic.
The report said IHH’s advantage came after it divested its entire stake in India’s largest hospital chain, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd, last week.
It is estimated that IHH — majority-owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd — gained US$290 million (RM1.24 billion) from the Apollo divestment, or about twice of what it invested in 2005.
Fortis, which includes SRL Diagnostics, is valued at US$2.8 billion.
IHH, a Malaysian–Singaporean private healthcare group focused on upmarket health services, has activities in the private hospital and health sector in Asia and the Middle East, notably in Singapore, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and the United Arab Emirates.
On IHH’s investment strategy in India, Dr Tan said: “We intend to expand our presence further geographically.”
He said the group had in 2015 made its niche investments in India’s Continental Hospitals and Global Hospitals.
In a note to investors, Public Investment Bank has placed a “neutral” call on IHH and valued its share price at RM6.75.
The stock closed three sen lower at RM5.97 on Bursa Malaysia yesterday.
The research house said IHH’s first-quarter net profit ended March doubled to RM470 million, including a RM313.4 million gain on disposal of 6.07 per cent stake in Apollo Hospitals.
Excluding exceptional gain on the disposal and foreign exchange losses, IHH’s net profit fell 15 per cent to RM201.8 million.
IHH is also listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.