US fund sues IHH Healthcare for $8.8 billion over alleged losses

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - A US fund is seeking more than US$6.5 billion (S$8.8 billion) in damages in a lawsuit against IHH Healthcare and other defendants, the Singapore-listed company disclosed in a Wednesday (Jan 5) bourse filing.

The lawsuit involves the issuance of shares of India's Fortis Healthcare to IHH's subsidiary back in 2018. The fund, Emqore Envesecure Private Capital Trust, alleges that it suffered losses as the defendants had purportedly conspired to frustrate a proposed share acquisition transaction between Fortis and Emqore's supposed predecessors.

Malaysia's IHH had invested in India-based Fortis back in 2018, after a high-profile bidding war against domestic and international companies.

Emqore's lawsuit involves 28 named defendants and 20 non-party defendants. It is thus not possible at this juncture to estimate the liability arising from the lawsuit to IHH, the company said.

IHH believes that it has "strong grounds" for dismissal of the lawsuit, and is not expecting any financial or operational impact for now. It intends to file a motion to dismiss Emqore's amended complaint on three grounds: lack of personal jurisdiction, forum non conveniens and failure to state a claim for relief. 

Forum non conveniens is a common law doctrine that allows courts to dismiss a case where another court, or forum, is much better suited to hear the case. This dismissal does not prevent the plaintiff from refiling the case in the more appropriate forum.

"IHH intends to defend vigorously against the claims," the company said.

Emqore had initially filed the lawsuit in June 2020. IHH was served in July last year with the original complaint and Emqore's motion to amend it. The motion had been pending adjudication until Dec 3, when Emqore's amended complaint was filed at the United States District Court.

The mainboard-listed counter closed one cent lower, or 0.45 per cent, at $2.20 on Wednesday.

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