Stock - LIC
The 65-year old insurance giant has dominated the global markets by being the fifth largest life insurance and ranked 10th in terms of total assets. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Mumbai: State-owned Life Insurance Corp’s (LIC) $2.7 billion IPO, India’s largest, opened to subscriptions from retail and other investors on Wednesday following strong demand from anchor investors led by domestic mutual funds.

The Indian government expects to raise the sum, just a third of its original target, from selling a 3.5 per cent stake in the country’s top insurance company, giving it an initial value of $78.52 billion.

The subscription, set to close on May 9, will offer a discount to employees and retail investors of Rs45 per share. LIC policyholders will be offered a discount of Rs60 per share. The IPO will take subscriptions even on Saturday, an unusual move aimed at attracting investors including retail buyers for the nation’s biggest share sale.

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The price range for the issue has been set between Rs902 and Rs949 per share.

After a reservation for employees and policyholders, the remaining shares will be allocated in a ratio of 50 per cent to qualified institutional buyers, 35 per cent to retail investors and 15 per cent for non-institutional investors.

The final IPO price will be determined after the subscription closes.

The 59.3 million shares set aside for anchor investors were subscribed at Rs949 apiece. Norwegian wealth fund Norges Bank Investment Management and the Government of Singapore joined the anchor book, along with several domestic mutual funds.

The government had initially wanted to list LIC in the financial year that ended March 31 but chose to delay the sale after Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate tightening triggered a market rout.

The 66-year-old company dominates India’s insurance sector, with more than 280 million policies. It was the fifth-biggest global insurer in terms of insurance premium collection in 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available.