Standard Life sells about 5% stake in HDFC Life Insurance for Rs 5,752 cr

Standard Life (Mauritius Holdings) on Wednesday sold 4.96 per cent stake in Housing Development and Finance Corporation (HDFC) Life Insurance Company to a clutch of institutional investors through multiple block deals. The sale took place at Rs 575.15 apiece, helping the UK-based Standard Life mop up Rs 5,752 crore.

Among the buyers were a host of foreign institutional investors (FIIs) such as Euro Pacific Growth Fund, Capital Group, New World Fund, and American Fund Insurance Series.

In the secondary market, shares of HDFC Life closed at Rs 632, up 3.6 per cent on the BSE. Market players said good demand for the share sale bolstered the stock price. The weightage of HDFC Life in global indices including the MSCI Emerging Market index was set to rise, thanks to the increase in free float following the share sale.

Standard Life is the co-promoter in the life insurance major along with HDFC.

As of September 2019, Standard Life held 19.69 per cent equity stake in HDFC Life. Post the bulk deal, Standard Life’s stake will drop to 14.73 per cent.

So far this year, Standard Life has pared its stake in HDFC Life through a number of tranches. In August, Standard Life had sold 3.2 per cent in HDFC Life via block deals. Prior to that, Standard Life had sold 1.78 per cent stake for approximately Rs 1,400 crore. In March, it had divested 4.93 per cent stake in the life insurer to raise about Rs 3,600 crore.

With Standard Life paring its stake in the life insurance company, the promoter shareholding in the company has been coming down. As of March 2019, the promoter shareholding was above 76 per cent which subsequently came down to 74.49 per cent in June 2019 and 71.16 per cent in September 2019. Post the bulk deal, the promoter shareholding will be down to 66.2 per cent.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was managing the share sale for Standard Life.

From October lows of Rs 575, shares of HDFC Life had gained as much as 8 per cent amid strong buying in shares of private insurers.

HDFC Life posted 7.5 per cent rise in standalone net profit to Rs 308.69 crore for the second quarter ended September 30. The company's net profit in the year-ago period stood at Rs 286.98 crore. 

Total income of the insurance firm rose to Rs 8,661.56 crore from Rs 7,902.10 in the same quarter a year ago, HDFC Life said in a regulatory filing. 
The asset under the management of insurance firm rose to Rs 1.3 trillion.

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