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In yet an­other twist to the For­tis sale saga, Mun­jal-Bur­mans com­bine have con­sented to re-open­ing the bid­ding process for For­tis Health­care. The en­tity, whose bid for in­vest­ing Rs 1,800 crore was ap­proved by For­tis board ear­lier, said the they have given their con­sent to en­able the health­care chain to move ahead with its fund-rais­ing plans. The de­vel­op­ment comes at a time when there is an un­cer­tainty over the process of sale of For­tis as four of the di­rec­tors, who had ap­proved the Mun­jals-Bur­mans bid, are no longer on the com­pany's board. On its part, For­tis Health­care said it has re­ceived a let­ter from Hero En­ter­prise In­vest­ment Of­fice and Bur­man fam­ily Of­fi­cer ...giv­ing their con­sent to re-open the bid­ding process to en­able the com­pany to move ahead with the fund-rais­ing trans­ac­tion. In a let­ter to the board of di­rec­tors, Mun­jal-Bur­mans com­bine said "it ap­pears that there may be in­de­ci­sion on the part of the com­pany re­gard­ing the bid process, which we un­der­stand could be on ac­count of a few share­hold­ers in­di­cat­ing their pref­er­ence to the com­pany for re-open of the bid process". While ex­press­ing "deep an­guish and re­gret" over the mat­ter, Mun­jal­sBur­mans com­bine said they have has con­sented to re-open­ing of the bid­ding process "in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate the com­pany to ex­pe­di­tiously fi­nalise and close its fund-rais­ing so that the com­pany's busi­ness does not suf­fer any fur­ther". For­tis Health­care, how­ever, did not clar­ify whether it will re-open the bid­ding process. When con­tacted, a For­tis spokesper­son said the com­pany's board will take a de­ci­sion on the mat­ter without spec­i­fy­ing when the meet­ing would take place. "Nec­es­sary in­ti­ma­tion to the reg­u­la­tor and stock ex­changes would be given ac­cord­ingly," the spokesper­son added. For­tis' board of di­rec­tors is sched­uled to meet on May 30 to con­sider and ap­prove the au­dited fi­nan­cial re­sults for the quar­ter and fi­nan­cial year ended March 31, 2018. In their let­ter, Mun­jals-Bur­mans com­bine said "this sit­u­a­tion may have arisen largely on ac­count of the lack of in­for­ma­tion avail­able to stake­hold­ers. Mun­jal-Bur­mans com­bine said it ex­pects the re-bid­ding process to be con­ducted in a fair and trans­par­ent man­ner, with full clar­ity to all stake­hold­ers and bid­ders re­gard­ing the cri­te­ria and ob­jec­tives which will be con­sid­ered rel­e­vant by the com­pany for this pur­pose, and with equal in­for­ma­tion be­ing avail­able to all bid­ders. It has been re­ported that Yes Bank, which holds over 15 per cent stake in For­tis as on March 31, per BSE data, had ex­pressed con­cerns over the bid­ding process. Yes Bank asked For­tis' board to con­sider re­vised bids for the com­pany sub­mit­ted to max­imise value for in­vestors. Last week, For­tis board was re­con­sti­tuted af­ter its share­hold­ers had voted out its di­rec­tor, Brian Tem­pest, from the board in the ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing (EGM) held on May 22. Ear­lier, out of four di­rec­tors whose re­movals were sought by two in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors, three di­rec­tors - Harpal Singh, Sabina Vaisoha and Te­jin­der Singh Shergill - had re­signed ahead of an EGM called to vote on the mat­ter. For­tis share­hold­ers last week also voted in favour of ap­point­ments of Su­valaxmi Chakraborty, Ravi Ra­jagopal and In­dra­jit Ban­er­jee as in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tors on the board. The res­ig­na­tions of three di­rec­tors and re­moval of Tem­pest has cast a shadow over the on­go­ing at­tempt to sell For­tis as th­ese four di­rec­tors were among the five who had voted in favour of Mun­jalBur­mans com­bine's Rs 1,800-crore bid for the health­care firm. Last week, Malaysia's firm IHH Health­care Ber­hard ex­tended the ac­cep­tance pe­riod for its en­hanced re­vised pro­posal for ac­quir­ing For­tis to June 30 in the wake of changes in the board of the cash­strapped health­care chain. IHH Health­care, which had re­vised its of­fer to di­rectly in­vest in For­tis at Rs 175 per share on May 1 from an ini­tial non-bind­ing of­fer to in­vest in For­tis at Rs 160 per share, had ear­lier stated that its en­hanced of­fer would ex­pire on May 29. Sim­i­larly, Ma­ni­pal-TPG com­bine had also ex­tended the va­lid­ity of its mod­i­fied of­fer for For­tis Health­care to June 6, 2018. There were five suit­ors in the race for For­tis Healthare out of which only four made bind­ing bids. Be­sides Mun­jals-Bur­mans, Ma­ni­patl -TPG and IHH Health­care, KKR-backed Ra­di­ant Life Care had also put in bid­ding of­fer. China's Fo­sun Health­care but did not make a bind­ing bid for the For­tis. On May 14, Ma­ni­pal-TPG com­bine had again sweet­ened its of­fer for For­tis at Rs 180 per share, thereby in­creas­ing the val­u­a­tion of the health­care com­pany to Rs 9,403 crore. Ma­ni­pal-TPG com­bine was the first to make a bind­ing of­fer for the cash-strapped health­care chain.

Hero En­ter­prises Chair­man Su­nil Kant Mun­jal Dabur In­dia Chair­man Anand Bur­man

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