India's first insurance IPO paves way for US$50 bln industry

April 25, 2016 08:39
HDFC's listing could lead the way for other Indian insurance giants to go public. Photo: Bloomberg

India will get its first life insurance listing since it opened up to private-sector investors 16 years ago, paving the way for more companies seeking to go public in an industry that’s since grown to more than US$50 billion.

Housing Development Finance Corp., the country's largest mortgage lender, will offer as much as a 10 percent stake in its insurance venture with Britain's Standard Life plc, HDFC said in a filing last week.

The stake may be valued at about 20 billion rupees (US$302 million) based on the sale this month of a holding by HDFC to its foreign partner, Bloomberg reported.

The listing is a milestone after India’s parliament cleared a hurdle when it voted last year to increase the amount foreign investors can own in insurers to 49 percent from 26 percent.

While majority ownership and control in the joint ventures will remain with resident Indians, the bill allows overseas companies to expand their presence in the world’s second-most populous country.

As many as seven companies may list their insurance units over the next few years, Prithvi Haldea, chairman of research firm Prime Database in New Delhi, was quoted as saying.

-- Contact us at [email protected]