LIC to invest in GIC IPO but will stay away from SBI Life IPO

V K Sharma, Chairman, LIC of India at a press conference in Mumbai. Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), country’s largest insurer, is planning to invest in General Insurance Corporation’s (GIC) Initial Public Offering (IPO), which is expected to file its initial share sale prospectus in the next couple of weeks.

However, LIC has no plans of investing in the upcoming IPO of SBI Life Insurance as it is a competitor of the country’s biggest institutional investor in the life insurance business, said V K Sharma, Chairman of LIC.

However, he mentioned that there is no restriction by regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) on LIC to participate in the upcoming IPOs of insurance companies.

On the issue of reducing its stake to 15 per cent in the companies where it has more than 15 per cent stake, Sharma said LIC replied to the IRDAI order and will not be able to comment on the matter as it was price sensitive.

The non-performing assets (NPA) of the public insurer was to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore in FY18, of which Rs 13,000 crore were in cases where Joint Lender’s Forum (JLF) has been formed and Rs 4,000 crore was in individual lending. However, there was 100 per cent provision made for the entire amount of NPAs of the public insurer.

Moreover, LIC has an exposure of around Rs 500-Rs 600 crore in the 12 companies that have been reported to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), said Sharma told reporters. He was speaking after corporation announced slew of steps to ease difficulties for people hit by recent floods in Assam and Gujarat. Its network has been put on alert for settlement of claims reported due to floods.

LIC has reported a 13 per cent growth in the new business premiums and the new business grew by more than 10 per cent in Q1 of FY 18. The profit from sale of equity was to the tune Rs 6,100 crore in Q1 of FY 18 up 145 per cent from Rs 2,489 crore in the year ago period. The investment made by LIC in Q1FY18 was Rs 16,000 crore and in FY18 their investment will be in line with their growth.

LIC has already set a target of Rs 38,000 crore for premium collection from a new business on an individual basis in FY 18.

LIC's clarification

LIC has clarified that it will consider IPOs of GIC and New India Assurance proactively as and when it is offered. It has issued this clarification in view of the fact that the news item might be interpreted by the readers and opinion makers.

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