Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

LIC IPO: GOVT TO SEEK PROPOSALS FROM I-BANKS

- Bloomberg

The government is planning to ask for proposals from investment banks this month for the initial public offering (IPO) of Life Insurance Corp. (LIC), according to people familiar with the matter.

The government will send out invitation­s in the coming weeks for the share sale of the country’s biggest insurer, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussion­s are private. An offering could happen as soon as March 2022, the people said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is keen to go ahead with LIC’S Ipo—potentiall­y India’s biggest—to help plug a widening budget gap. The administra­tion plans to raise $24 billion by selling assets including Air India Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. as it attempts to revive an economy battered by the coronaviru­s pandemic.

A listing could value LIC at as much as $261 billion, based on its assets under management and using private sector insurers as a benchmark, analysts at Jefferies India led by Prakhar Sharma wrote in a February note.

That would make it bigger than Reliance Industries Ltd, which is currently India’s largest listed company with a market value of about $199 billion.

LIC had total assets of ₹32 lakh crore in the financial year 2019-2020, according to its latest annual report.

The insurer had an almost 69% market share in life insurance in terms of total first year premiums.

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