Tycoon Renounces Fortis Role to Join Spiritual Group Full Time

  • Shivinder Singh to join Radha Soami Satsang Beas group
  • Singh to `guide' hospital chain in non-executive role

Shivinder Mohan Singh, the executive vice-chairman of India’s second-largest hospital chain Fortis Healthcare Ltd., said he will join a spiritual group based in northern India.

He will give up his executive role and become the non-executive vice chairman starting Jan. 1 as he transitions to perform full-time service for Radha Soami Satsang Beas near the holy Sikh town of Amritsar in the Punjab, the company said in an exchange filing on Wednesday. The group says on its website that it isn’t a religion, sect or cult, but “a way of life.”

The spiritual group requires members to be vegetarian, abstain from sex outside marriage, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and to meditate daily for two-and-a-half hours. They have to commit to living a “moral and ethical life based on high principles,” according to the group’s website.

Singh, 40, along with his older brother Malvinder Mohan Singh, 42, helped build Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. into India’s biggest drugmaker before selling it in 2008 to Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co., which agreed to pay $4.6 billion for a controlling stake. The billionaire brothers also have stakes in SRL Ltd., a diagnostics chain, and Religare Enterprises Ltd., a financial services firm.

“Our businesses are stable and Fortis is on a promising trajectory,” Singh said in a press statement that was sent along with the filing. “I want to assure our business partners and colleagues that I will continue to guide the organization to realize its full potential.”

He declined to elaborate at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in New Delhi today. Fortis Healthcare’s group sales rose 14 percent to 39.7 billion rupees ($602 million) in the year ended March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It reported a loss of 1.4 billion rupees for the period, as the company worked to reduce its debt.

Daiichi, which started facing scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over manufacturing practices at its Ranbaxy facilities, sold the Indian business earlier this year to Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Asia’s biggest generic drug maker. In July, Sun said its profit may be “adversely impacted” due to costs and charges linked to the merger with Ranbaxy.