Govt invites bids for second time from law firms for LIC IPO

LIC to file draft IPO papers with Sebi next month

The government has for the second time invited bids from law firms to advise it on the mega initial public offering of LIC.

On July 15, the government had floated a request for proposal (RFP) inviting bids from reputed legal advisors and the last date for bidding was August 6.

However, the RFP did not receive a sufficient response. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on Thursday came out with the second RFP for appointing legal firms, who have to bid in consortium with an international firm, and the last date for bidding is September 16.

“Considering insufficient demand received in the first RFP, it has been decided to issue a fresh RFP,” DIPAM said.

In the RFP, DIPAM said it requires the services of reputed law firms with experience and expertise in initial/further public offerings in capital markets to act as legal advisors and to assist the government in the process of listing of LIC.

“The domestic law firm will act as the legal adviser to the transaction and should submit proposal in consortium with an international law firm of repute, with similar experience and expertise in public offerings in capital markets,” DIPAM said.

DIPAM had invited bids from merchant bankers too for LIC on July 15, and 16 firms had put in bids.

Following that, DIPAM last week shortlisted 10 merchant bankers, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, ICICI Securities Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital Co, JM Financial Ltd, Citigroup Inc and Nomura Holdings Inc, among others for managing the LIC IPO.

The government aims to come out with the IPO and subsequent listing of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) on the bourses in January-March 2022.

The government is also mulling allowing foreign investors to pick up stakes in the country’s largest insurer. As per Sebi rules, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) are permitted to buy shares in a public offer.

However, since the LIC Act has no provision for foreign investments, there is a need to align the proposed LIC IPO with Sebi norms regarding foreign investor participation.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had last month cleared the initial public offering proposal of LIC.

The ministerial panel known as the Alternative Mechanism on strategic disinvestment will now decide on the quantum of stake to be divested by the government.

“The potential size of the IPO is expected to be far larger than any precedent in Indian markets,” DIPAM had said.

The listing of LIC will be crucial for the government in meeting its disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for 2021-22 (April-March).

So far this fiscal, Rs 8,368 crore has been mopped up through minority stake sales in PSU and sale of SUUTI stake in Axis Bank.

Source: Economic Times

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