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HOSPITAL chain operator Fortis Healthcare and Mauritius-based diversified Industrial Group CIEL are together buying out 58% stake in Mauritius’ private hospital Clinique Darne for $7 million. The acquisition marks the international foray for Fortis.

CIEL and Fortis Healthcare’s wholly-owned subsidiary Novelife have invested $3.5 million each to pick equal stake of 29% in Clinique Darne, a company listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, Fortis Healthcare MD Shivinder Singh said.

The 120-bed hospital largely provides medical services across different segments. Now rechristened Fortis Clinique, had operating margins of 21% on revenue of Rs 50 crore in 2007-08. Fortis plans to increase its capacity to 400 beds and upgrade it to a high-end hospital that can treat complicated medical procedures.

Fortis Healthcare shares rose 1.26% to Rs 64.45 on the Bombay stock exchange. Mr Singh added that the buyout came as a good opportunity even as the company’s focus will remain in India. “There is a cultural fit as 68% of the population in Mauritius are Indians. The hospital will also cater to patients from Africa and neighbouring countries, “he said. Fortis’ domestic competitor Apollo Hospital is also setting up a multispecialty hospital in Mauritius.

Meanwhile, the company’s proposed plans to raise Rs 1,000 crore through a rights issue is expected to be launched by June this year. “The price of the issue won’t be at a discount to the market price, ” company’s CFO Yogesh Sarin said.

The company will use the money to fund its expansion plans and retire its debt. Fortis has close to 2,800 beds in its 23 hospitals in India, and plans to have 40 hospitals by 2012.

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