Life Insurance Corporation of India IPO only after 3 other PSU selloffs

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The government is looking to complete at least three public sector disinvestment transactions before rolling out the mega initial public offer (IPO) of Life Insurance Corporation of India early next year, a finance ministry official said.

At least three firms – National Fertilisers Ltd, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd and Rashtriya Chemical & Fertilizers Ltd – will be divested through offer on sale, or OFS, route within the next quarter, the official said.

“We expect that the LIC offer should hit the markets early next year, so by that time we should be able to complete these issues as already necessary approvals are in place,” he said.

Earlier this month, the cabinet committee on economic affairs, or CCEA, gave its in-principle approval to list LIC.

A 10% stake sale in the insurer could fetch around ₹1-1.5 lakh crore as per industry estimates. The government is simultaneously pursuing strategic disinvestment in companies such as Air India and BPCL.

“We expect a good response for these OFS issues,” the above-quoted official said, adding that it may also launch the initial public offer of WAPCOS Limited where it plans to offload 25% stake.

The government will disinvest 20% stake in where it holds 74% stake and will sell 10% each in Rashtriya Chemical & Fertilisers and defence PSU Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani) where it holds 75% and 74% stakes, respectively, the person said.

Earlier this week, the government sold 8% stake in Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (Hudco) through the OFS route. The issue got subscribed almost two times by non-retail investors. So far in this fiscal, the government has garnered ₹7,646 crore through minority stake sale, of which ₹3,651 crore was from NMDC OFS and ₹3,994 crore from sale of SUUTI stake in Axis Bank.

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