December 17, 2012 / 3:30 AM / 5 years ago

India's Fortis Healthcare to sell Australian unit stake for A$270 mln

MUMBAI, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Fortis Healthcare Ltd said it had decided to sell its 64 percent stake in a dental clinics business in Australia to British medical services group Bupa for A$270 million ($285 million) to focus on high-end healthcare operations in Asia.

The Indian hospitals group bought the holding in Dental Corp Holdings Ltd, Australia, in January 2011, hoping to expand the business across other regions but has been unable to do so. It raised the number of dental practices in Australia and New Zealand to 190 from 140 in the nearly two years it owned the business, the company said in a statement late on Sunday.

The entire proceeds will be used to reduce the group’s debt, Fortis group Chief Executive Vishal Bali told news channel CNBC TV18. The deal is expected to be completed in March 2013, Fortis said.

Fortis, India’s No. 2 hospitals operator, had consolidated debt of $1.1 billion as of end-June.

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