Hindustan Times (East UP)
IPOs prompt ICICI to hire more investment bankers
MUMBAI: India’s second largest private lender ICICI Bank Ltd is making its biggest hiring push in investment banking and institutional equities in four years, as it anticipates a rise in companies going public.
The bank plans to add five mid-to-senior level hires in each of the two units, which currently have 130 bankers in total, according to Ajay Saraf, head of investment banking and institutional equities at ICICI Securities Ltd. The new roles will be concentrated in sectors such as technology and health care, he said. “We have not hired these kinds of numbers since 2017,” Saraf said in a phone interview. “We see investor interest disproportionately higher for these sectors in the next 12 months.”
Shares of ICICI Securities jumped as much as 4.6% on Tuesday to their highest level since February 4. The move outpaced the rise in India’s benchmark Sensex index which climbed as much as 1.1%.
India is joining the global share sale frenzy thanks to ample liquidity in the market with foreign investors and even retail buyers looking for new ideas to invest in. The booming local tech scene, which earlier in April minted six unicorns in a single week, is also expanding the initial public offering pipeline for bankers.
So far in 2021, nearly $3 billion has been raised through IPOs in India, the best start to the year since 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It could even surpass 2020’s $4.6 billion haul as companies such as Zomato Pvt., Policybazaar and Nykaa E-Retail Pvt. are set to go public in Mumbai as as soon as this year, Bloomberg News has reported.
ICICI Securities ranks first for equity offerings in India so far in 2021, according to the Bloomberg league table, a leap from 2020 when it finished 10th. Saraf expects there to be more deals to go around as high-quality firms come to market in the next three to six months. “The deal activity on the primary market will be stronger than 2021,” he said. “The number of transactions will be widespread but the rise in volume will depend on the issuers’ decisions on the size.”