Over 59 million shares reserved for anchor investors in LIC IPO

By Nupur Anand

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The IPO of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), India’s biggest insurer, has got off to a strong start, with 59.3 million shares that were set aside for anchor investors being subscribed at 949 rupees apiece, according to an exchange filing on Tuesday.

The Indian government has said it expects to raise up to $2.74 billion, just a third of its original target, from selling a 3.5% stake in LIC in the country’s biggest initial public offering (IPO).

Anchor investors are high-profile institutional investors that are allotted shares before the subscription opens for retail and other investors, and have to commit to holding their shares for a certain period after listing.

LIC’s offering is set to open for other investors on May 4 and will close on May 9. The indicative price range has been set at 902 to 949 rupees per share, with 56 billion rupees ($732 million) of shares set aside for anchor investors.

Norwegian wealth fund Norges Bank Investment Management and the Government of Singapore are among the subscribers to the anchor book, the filing showed.

Alongside other global funds, domestic mutual fund houses such as HDFC mutual fund, SBI, ICICI and Kotak have also come in as anchor investors.

Over 20 investors had expressed interest in subscribing to the anchor book, according to two banking sources.

Foreign institutional investors had some concerns about LIC’s IPO, but global pension funds had shown “good interest,” LIC’s chairman said last week.

($1 = 76.5150 Indian rupees)

($1 = 76.4640 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nupur Anand and Maria Ponnezhath; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Mark Potter and Anil D’Silva)