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Wockhardt may sell stake in hospital arm

business Updated: Apr 14, 2009 23:22 IST
Suprotip Ghosh
Suprotip Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Mumbai

Beleaguered hospitals-to-pharmaceuticals company Wockhardt may make an announcement regarding divesting its stake in Wockhardt Hospitals within a week.

Wockhardt Hospitals, a subsidiary of Wockhardt, is currently in talks with more than one investor to raise capital in return for a minority stake in the company, said a source. Wockhardt officials did not comment.

Agencies had reported on March 31 that Fortis Healthcare Ltd has struck a broad agreement to buy up to 74 per cent of the unlisted Wockhardt Hospitals for about Rs 750 crore.

According to company sources, Wockhardt is planning to sell a ‘substantial stake’ in the profit-making hospitals chain.Sources say there are more than one possible investor in the fray. They however refused to name the interested parties.

Wockhardt, which revealed two weeks ago that it has Rs 3700 crore of unrecoverable debt, is in the process of a management reorganisation. Chairman and promoter Habil Khorakiwala has named elder son Murtaza as managing director of the company.

Also, the company is hiving off its biotech business, and letting its debtor banks buy out parts of its foreign currency bonds, apart from the proposed sale of stake in its hospitals business. Reports have also indicated that it might sell its office building in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex.

Wockhardt’s annual revenues at the end of 2007 were Rs 2,650 crore, with operating profits of about Rs 650 crore. The company has delayed publishing its figures for 2008 citing the ongoing reorganisation.