India will see at least six (re)insurance companies in both the private and public sectors float their shares on the stock exchange this year or next.
ICICI Lombard, the largest private general insurer in India, has begun the groundwork for its IPO. The insurer is in preliminary discussions with investment bankers and aims to float its shares in the second half of the current financial year ending March 2018.
Separately, the privately held Reliance General Insurance announced in June that its board had approved its IPO which is expected to be launched by 31 March 2018. The IPO will involve at least 10% of the company’s shares.
Housing finance company HDFC meanwhile said that it is looking at selling 10% of its stake in its life insurance arm through an IPO, which the company had been preparing for before a proposal was made to merge HDFC Life with Max Life. If the company goes ahead with the IPO, the exercise would be completed within six months, Mr Amitabh Chaudhry, MD & CEO of HDFC Life, told The Times of India. The merger proposal has been rejected by the IRDAI because it would have involved first merging Max Life with Max Financial Services. IRDAI said that the insurance law does not allow the merger of an insurance company with a non-insurance firm.
State Bank of India too has said that its SBI Life Insurance will be listed on the Indian stock markets. In March, the bank said that 10% of shares in the insurer would be sold in the IPO which would be launched after September.
In the government-owned sector, the country’s only state-owned reinsurer GIC Re is expected to launch its US$1.44 billion (INR9,000 crore) IPO in September. The stake to be sold represents 10% of the shares in the reinsurer.
The country’s biggest nonlife insurer, the state-owned New India Assurance, is expected to sell 15% of its shares to raise as much as INR8,000 crore in an IPO, which includes 5% fresh equity.
At present, the only listed insurer in India is ICICI Prudential, which went public last year. A