LIC shares fall nearly 9pc in tepid market debut

The state-run insurer's IPO is the largest ever in India, surpassing the listings of Coal India and Paytm. Subscribed 3X mainly by retail investors, policyholders, and employees, the listing values LIC at around Rs 6 lakh crore.
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Shares of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India fell 8.6 percent in its stock market debut on Tuesday from the final pricing of Rs 949 a piece, the upper end of the Rs 902 to Rs 949 range.

Net proceeds from the sale of 22.13 crore shares that were sold in the IPO were Rs 21,000 crore. The number of shares being listed makes up about 3.5 percent of the state-run insurance giant.

The broader Indian equity markets were slightly higher at the time of LIC's listing -- the NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0,71 percent at 15,954.20 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.65 percent to 53,315.95.

LIC shares recovered slightly from their listing price, and were last trading at Rs 899.25, as of 10:11 AM IST.

Research firm Macquaire initiated coverage on LIC with a 'neutral' rating, and set a price target of Rs 1,000, higher than its IPO price of Rs 949.

LIC's shares saw strong demand when the insurer opened its books last week. The IPO was oversubscribed nearly three times, with QIB (Qualified Institutional Buyers) portion subscribing 2.8 times, policyholders 6X, and employees 4.36X. Retail interest in the subscription was nearly 2X than the number of shares reserved.

Policyholders were given a discount of Rs 60 per share, while retail investors and eligible employees were given a discount of Rs 45.

The state-run insurance company's truncated IPO – the IPO size was cut from 5 percent to 3.5 percent following broader market tepidity, which has 13 lakh+ on-ground agents, and over 280 million policies sold, is the largest after Paytm's last year, and Coal India's in 2010.

The 66 year-old company was formed in 1956 under the Life Insurance of India Act, after the government of India merged around 250 insurance companies to form an insurer that could cater even to rural India, apart from urban cities. The insurer has eight zonal offices, 113 divisional offices, 74 customer zones, and 2,048 branch offices, according to its website.

It is estimated that LIC's real estate holdings – among the largest in India – as well as antiques and paintings, which includes several pieces by artist MF Hussain, are worth nearly Rs 70,000 crore.

Here's a quick look at LIC's history:

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Edited by Megha Reddy