Fortis to explore legal recourse after SC issues contempt notice in Singh brothers case

Gurugram (Haryana) [India], Nov 18 (ANI): Fortis Healthcare said on Monday it will explore legal options in response to the Supreme Court suo moto contempt notice against the company.

"The company is currently evaluating the judgement and exploring legal means to address it in an expeditious manner, keeping in mind the best interest of all our stakeholders," the company said in a statement.

"Separately, we have been advised that the open offer made by IHH Healthcare (IHH) to the public shareholders of Fortis for the acquisition of up to 26 per cent stake at Rs 170 per share continues to remain in abeyance and will be adjudicated upon in conjunction with the hearing of the contempt petition," the company added.

The Supreme Court had withheld an open offer by IHH after Japanese drugmaker Daiichi had filed an affidavit on January 15 to stall transfer of funds from Fortis to Religare Health Trust (RHT). The apex court has also sought an enquiry into consummation of the acquisition of healthcare assets from RHT by the company.

Fortis bought back hospital properties worth Rs 4,666 crore by acquiring securities in the RHT's Indian entities that had ownership of these properties.

"Consummation of the transaction was value accretive for the company and its shareholders as it saved significant clinical establishment fees that Fortis was paying to RHT for utilisation of such assets, and accordingly resulted in an annual saving of around Rs 270 crore," it said.

The company's response comes after last week's Supreme Court ruling in which it held Fortis' former promoters Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh guilty of contempt. The apex court asked the brothers to deposit Rs 1,175 crore each to avoid contempt. The court will next hear the case on February 3, 2020.

The apex court order came in response to Daiichi petition to implement the Rs 3,500 crore arbitration award against Singh brothers, who they allege to have concealed information related to the extent of regulatory problems at Ranbaxy.

Fortis said it remains firm that these transactions were at all times conducted in a fair and transparent manner after obtaining all relevant regulatory, shareholder and corporate approvals and only after making all due disclosures to public shareholders of the company and to regulatory authorities in a timely manner.

It stated that the IHH's transactions were undertaken under supervision of an "entirely new board of independent directors, having no connection at all to the erstwhile promoters, that were appointed in April 2018 following feedback from minority shareholders and with the directors associated with the erstwhile promoters (Singh brothers) being either removed or having resigned."