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Will LIC prove a new resilience in India ECM?

India-LIC-Getty-960.jpg
Photo: Getty

The float of LIC will shatter all of India’s records in the equity capital markets. It is also an opportunity to prove a newfound maturity in India, already illustrated by a range of highly successful tech deals in 2021.

There is a landmark heading for the Indian capital markets. Life Insurance Corp of India, known locally as LIC, is one of those Indian state-owned companies whose numbers are hard to fathom. It has 280 million policies in force from 250 million policyholders, a constituency that, were it a sovereign state, would rank as the fifth most populous country in the world.

LIC has more agents than there are people in Birmingham or Amsterdam: 1.35 million as of March 31, 2021. It has 109,000 employees, 2,000 branches and a further 1,500 satellite offices, bedecked in iconic blue and yellow.

It is India writ large, and its IPO has been two years in the making, with 10 underwriters given equal billing on the deal’s top line. If it goes ahead in March – and the government really wants it to, to get its revenues into the financial year that ends on March 31 – it is expected to raise as much as $10 billion equivalent.

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Chris Wright is Asia editor. He covers the Asia Pacific region and is based in Singapore. He has previously been Middle East editor of Euromoney, editor of Asiamoney, investment editor of the Australian Financial Review and a correspondent on emerging markets and sovereign wealth for numerous publications worldwide. He has also written two books.
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