India’s Aster mulls dividend payout from $1 billion Gulf demerger amid proxy firm pressure

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s Aster DM Healthcare plans to distribute to shareholders about 70%-80% of the $903 million it will get by selling its Gulf business, the hospital chain said Monday, days after a proxy advisory firm asked investors to veto the deal.

Aster agreed, in November, to sell a majority stake in the Gulf business to private equity firm Fajr Capital in a $1 billion deal to help focus on its India business, which some investors considered undervalued.

Last week, Institutional Investor Advisory Services asked Aster shareholders to vote against the deal due to a lack of clarity on how the company would use the sale proceeds, according to local media reports.

The company said on Monday it plans to use the proceeds to pay shareholders between 110 rupees and 120 rupees per share as dividends.

The company does not pay a regular dividend.

Aster, which derives 75% of its revenue from its Gulf business, had said it would use the demerger proceeds to go on an expansion spree in India.

(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)