Fortis in talks over control of Wockhardt Hospitals: report

Hospitals chain operator Fortis Healthcare (India) Ltd is in talks to take management and operational control of Wockhardt Hospitals promoted by the Khorakiwalas of Wockhardt, The Economic Times today reported, citing two sources familiar with the discussions.

The talks come three years after Fortis, promoted by the former owners of India's largest drug firm Ranbaxy, acquired 10 hospitals from Wockhardt for Rs909crore in 2009.

Wockhardt Hospitals has 9 hospitals spread across Bhavnagar, Goa, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nashik, Rajkot, Surat and Navi Mumbai.

The discussions are in early stages and Fortis has appointed i-bankers, said the paper. 

Wockhardt, which is burdened with a debt of around Rs4,700 crore, is keen on raising money after it last year defaulted on its Rs430 crore foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCB).

Last year, Wockhardt sold its nutrition business to French consumer giant Danone for Rs1,576 crore.

In 2009, Wockhardt had agreed to sell its nutrition business to global healthcare major Abbott Laboratories - but the Rs625-crore deal had to be aborted after a group of investors holding 40-per cent of Wockhardt's FCCB opposed the sale at the high court.

The high court refused a grant a stay to the lenders after Wockhardt deposited Rs115 crore with the court and the company pledged to  pay Rs85 crore by 31 December  2011, Rs30 crore by 31 January  2012, Rs100 crore by 31 March, Rs50 crore by 30 June  and the balance by 31 August, 2012.