Government's Listing Plans Timeline For LIC IPO, India's Biggest

LIC IPO Listing: A timeline of the government's listing plans for LIC
LIC IPO Listing: A timeline of the government's listing plans for LIC

Shares in Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC) dropped 7.8 per cent on their market debut on Tuesday after India's biggest initial public offering (IPO) was dogged for weeks by worries about an ailing global economy.

The government raised roughly 205 billion rupees ($2.7 billion) from selling a 3.5 per cent stake in the IPO, a far cry from its initial target to bring in up to $12 billion.

Having missed out on last year's IPO frenzy, shares in India's biggest insurer opened at 872 rupees apiece, compared to their issue price of 949 rupees. They touched a session high of 918.95 rupees.

Below is a timeline of the government's listing plans for LIC, which commands more than 60 per cent of India's insurance market.

February 2020: The Indian government announces plans to sell part of its stake in LIC through a possible IPO to help meet a broader $29.6 billion state asset divestment target for the financial year ending March 2021.

April 2020: LIC's listing plans are derailed as the COVID-19 pandemic affects fundraising plans for several companies due to market uncertainty.

December 2020: The sale is further delayed as the government begins to determine the embedded value of the insurance giant for the first time, an exercise that ultimately takes more than a year.

Embedded value is a measure of future cash flows in life insurance companies and the key financial metric for insurers.

February 2021: The government says it plans to sell around 10% of its shares in LIC by the end of March 2022.

January 2022: The government sets itself a mid-March deadline to raise up to $12 billion through an IPO and asks regulators for a swift review of a draft prospectus..

February 1, 2022: The government announces drastic cuts to plans to sell stakes in state-run companies. The proposal to lower the overall divestment target reduces expectations of the LIC IPO to a 5% stake sale, from 10% earlier.

February 3, 2022: LIC's embedded value is finalised at more than 5 trillion rupees ($66.8 billion), Reuters reports. LIC's market valuation is seen as two to three times its embedded value.

February 13, 2022: LIC files its draft IPO papers with an embedded value of 5.39 trillion rupees.

The company management then starts to hold virtual roadshows for potential investors.

February 24, 2022: Russia invades Ukraine in what it calls a "special military operation", battering global markets and leading many foreign investors in emerging markets to sell holdings.

February 26, 2022: India's cabinet approves a policy amendment allowing foreign direct investment of up to 20% in LIC. Government officials remain confident of an IPO by the end of March 2022.

March 1, 2022: Bankers advising LIC push the government to defer the launch of the IPO because of the market jolt from the invasion, Reuters reports. 

Sources later confirm the plan to list LIC is being pushed to the next financial year, starting April.

April 22, 2022: New Delhi could halve its fundraising goal for LIC's IPO to around $3.9 billion after cutting valuation estimates following feedback from investors, a government source says.

April 26, 2022: India files the IPO prospectus, further lowering the amount it expects to raise to around $2.7 billion from sale of a 3.5% stake, just a third of its original estimates, after investors question LIC's growth potential.

May 2, 2022: LIC's IPO opens for an anchor investor subscription that ultimately achieves strong demand and pricing at the top of the range.

May 4, 2022: The IPO opens to subscriptions from retail and other investors.

May 17, 2022: LIC finally debuts on the stock exchanges but falls 7.8 per cent on its listing day. Analysts predict more pain for investors amid the volatile market conditions.