Fortis stake sale: Three directors quit ahead of shareholder vote today citing personal reasons

Mumbai/London: Three directors of India’s Fortis Healthcare have quit ahead of a shareholder vote on Tuesday to decide their future, the company said, the latest twist in a prolonged takeover for one of the country’s largest hospital operators.

Harpal Singh, Tejinder Singh Shergill and Sabina Vaisoha cited personal reasons for their resignations, coming days after two major Fortis shareholders said the directors had not met their fiduciary duties.

Their departures raised fresh questions about the direction cash-strapped Fortis will take as it considers bids from five parties who have proposed to buy whole or part of the company.

Fortis has received more than a dozen competing offers since it first agreed in March to a proposal from a consortium led by rival Manipal Hospitals Enterprises.

Fortis then said in May it planned to accept an offer from Hero Enterprise Investment Office and Burman Family Office that valued the company at 90 billion rupees. Shareholders responded by pushing the company’s shares down 5 percent.

Fortis. Representational image. Reuters.

Fortis. Representational image. Reuters.

Eastbridge Capital and Jupiter India — two large investors who together control about 12 percent of the company — had called for Tuesday’s vote.

They said the directors had not satisfactorily exercised “their respective fiduciary duties towards shareholders and have failed to maintain expected levels of corporate governance,” according to a filing made by Fortis last week.

A fourth director, Brian Tempest, still faces a vote at Tuesday’s meeting.

Indian proxy advisory firms have previously questioned the independence of the Fortis board.

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Updated Date: May 22, 2018 09:44 AM

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