Modi government’s selloff push: Sale of 10% stakes in GIC, New India Assurance may fetch Rs 10,000 crore

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New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2018 7:56:47 AM

At current market prices, the offers for sale (OFSs) in both the state-run insurers could fetch the Centre a tidy sum — Rs 9,500 crore or thereabouts.

Government to sale 10% stakes in General Insurance, New India Assurance, proceeds may cross Rs 10,000 crores

The Centre has put in abeyance a plan to merge the three public-sector general insurance companies OIC, UIIC and NIC, but might soon sell about 10% each in General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re) and New India Assurance (NIA) in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. GIC Re and NIA were listed last year.

At current market prices, the offers for sale (OFSs) in both the state-run insurers could fetch the Centre a tidy sum — Rs 9,500 crore or thereabouts.

A ministerial panel headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley has recently approved the OFSs in GIC and NIA, an official said. It also asked the department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) to initiate the process to appoint merchant bankers.

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As the government listed GIC Re, India’s biggest re-insurer, in October last year, it sold a 12.5% stake to mop up Rs 9,704 crore. The company also issued fresh shares at that time to raise Rs 1,553 crore for itself to fund business expansion. The Centre now owns 85.78% in GIC Re.

GIC stock closed at Rs 327, up 2.89% on BSE, on Friday. A 10% stake sale in the firm would fetch about Rs 5,740 crore at current market prices.

In November 2017, the Centre had mopped up Rs 7,653 crore by listing NIA.

It now owns 85.44% in the general insurer. On Friday, NIA share price closed at Rs 227.4, up 3.93% from the previous close.

So far this year, the Centre has managed to garner just Rs 15,289 crore from disinvestment, as against Rs 67,102 crore (including ONGC-HPCL deal) assured by the same time last year.

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The Centre’s disinvestment receipt would get a boost if the OFSs in the two general insurers go through this year. Since the OFSs would be closer to general elections, the market conditions could decide the timing of the stake sales.

In a pro-investor move recently, NIA as well as GIC, issued one bonus share for each share held in the company.

Global catastrophes and high claims in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) had hit GIC in FY18. Its FY18 net profit was Rs 3,234 crore, up only 3% year-on-year.

On the other hand, NIA reported 118% y-o-y increase in net profit at Rs 2,201 crore in FY18. It had also saw claims in PMFBY rise to around 92% in FY18 as compared to 75% in previous financial year.
In the Budget for FY19, the government had announced to merge three other state-owned general insurers — Oriental Insurance Company, United India Insurance Company and National Insurance Company — and list the merged entity as part of the disinvestment programme. But, no progress has been made on that so far.

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