LIC: India’s biggest-ever IPO falls 7% on market debut

Long-awaited move is a crucial step in PM Modi’s drive to 'monetise and modernise' state-run companies



Reuters
Reuters

By AFP

Published: Tue 17 May 2022, 9:01 AM

Last updated: Tue 17 May 2022, 10:27 AM

India’s biggest-ever IPO, state-owned insurance giant LIC, fell seven per cent from its flotation price of Rs949 when it made its market debut Tuesday.

Shares opened at Rs872 in pre-open trade in market debut against IPO price of Rs949.

The government raised $2.7 billion from the sale of 3.5 per cent of its stake in Life Insurance Corporation of India as it seeks to fix tattered public finances.

The flotation, delayed from March due to market volatility and cut back in the face of limited demand, was oversubscribed nearly three times during the six-day application period.

The muted debut could test the patience of new shareholders as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to sell off state assets to “monetise and modernise” nationalised companies and plug an estimated Rs16.6 trillion ($213.5 billion) fiscal deficit.

Shares in LIC listed at a seven per cent discount from its offer price of 949 rupees, before climbing slightly — though it remained well below the flotation price.

Founded in 1956 by nationalising and combining more than 240 firms, LIC was for decades synonymous with life insurance in post-independence India, until the entry of private companies in 2000.

It continues to lead the pack with a 61 per cent share of the market in India, with its army of 1.3 million “LIC agents” giving it huge reach, particularly in remote rural areas.

But LIC’s market share has declined steadily in the face of competition from net-savvy private insurers offering specialised products.

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