April 13, 2018 / 11:33 AM / 6 months ago

REFILE-Malaysia's IHH offers to buy India's Fortis at Rs 160 per share

(Refiles to add dropped word in headline)

MUMBAI, April 13 (Reuters) - India’s Fortis Healthcare Ltd said on Friday Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Berhad has offered to buy the company at 160 rupees ($2.45) per share, paving the way to a better bid than Manipal Hospitals.

Manipal Hospitals Enterprises Pvt Ltd offered to buy Fortis, which is among India’s largest hospital operators, at 155 rupees per share earlier this week. The offer didn’t impress Fortis’s minority shareholders, including Indian equity investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who called the price “low”.

IHH, one of Asia’s largest healthcare operators, made an “unsolicited non-binding expression of interest” to Fortis for a “possible due diligence and participation with the company”, Fortis said in a statement on Friday.

In the IHH letter, which Fortis made public, the former said it was making the offer due to the “inability of the statutory auditors of (Fortis) to opine on its financial position as at Dec. 31, 2017, and regulatory investigations that are currently underway.”

Fortis has also received an investment offer worth 12.5 billion rupees ($191.5 million) from India’s Hero Enterprise Investment Office and the Burman Family Office - private investment arm of the family that owns consumer goods firm Dabur India, the company had said on Thursday.

Fortis is under investigations by India’s Serious Fraud Investigations Office and the Securities and Exchange Board of India regarding financial fraud. The company’s Chief Executive Bhavdeep Singh said last month he expects the probes to be over within the next 12 months. ($1 = 65.2100 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in Mumbai, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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