LIC to open India's biggest IPO issue by mid-March

LIC to open India's biggest IPO issue by mid-March
A bird flies past a logo of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) at one of its offices in New Delhi, September 14, 2021. Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis

Mumbai: Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), India's largest insurer, could publish key details of its mammoth initial public offering (IPO) this month and begin issuing public shares by mid-March, government and banking officials told Reuters on Thursday.

LIC's listing is set to be India's biggest ever IPO, with the government aiming to raise up to 900 billion rupees ($12.2 billion) from selling a stake.

Officials are working on the valuation of the company which manages more than $450 billion of assets, and once that is done they will issue a draft IPO prospectus for investors, a government and two banking sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

"We will be ready to file the draft prospectus as soon as the final embedded value is communicated and we are working with a timeline of doing that by month end," one of the banking sources said.

The embedded value, a measure of future cash flows in life insurance companies and the key financial gauge for insurers, will determine the final valuation of LIC.

The finance ministry and LIC did not immediately respond to email requests seeking comment on the timelines. The embedded value had been expected to come out in November.

LIC has a majority share of the life insurance market in India and the government hopes proceeds from the IPO will help bridge a deficit gap this fiscal year. Listing will also bring more transparency into the working of the state-run company.

The insurance giant also has a subsidiary in Singapore and joint ventures in Bahrain, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.

"Road shows are expected to start from next month onwards and given the current scenario it is expected to be all virtual," the source added.

Last year, the government appointed ten investment banks including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and SBI Capital Market to handle the offering.

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