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India Seeks $109 Billion Valuation In Insurer’s Mega IPO

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(Bloomberg) -- India is seeking a valuation of between 8 trillion rupees ($109 billion) and 10 trillion rupees for state-backed Life Insurance Corp. in what’s slated to be the nation’s biggest initial public offering.

The government is considering selling a 5%-10% stake in the company, which could raise between 400 billion rupees and 1 trillion rupees, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private.

The potential valuation is based on preliminary talks and may change after further discussions, due diligence and an official valuation report, the people said. A spokesperson for the finance ministry declined to comment. LIC didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The valuation is much lower than Jefferies’ estimate of 19 trillion rupees but in line with others including RBSA Advisors’ of about 10 trillion rupees to 11.6 trillion rupees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is pushing ahead with LIC’s IPO to help plug a widening budget gap as it aims to raise 1.75 trillion rupees by March through divestments. The LIC sale is key to the government achieving this target. India may also allow foreign direct investment in the insurer to ensure diversified and strong demand across investors.

‘Mother of All IPOs’

The sale could be “the mother of all IPOs so far in India,” said Jyoti Roy, deputy vice president at Angel Broking. Although there will be appetite, the sale is likely to be at the end of the financial year, meaning it could “drain liquidity and impact the secondary market to some extent,” he said.

Bankers met government and LIC officials last week to formally kick off the sale process. A listing is expected between January and March next year, Bloomberg has reported earlier.

The government selected 10 banks, including Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and ICICI Securities Ltd., to arrange the IPO. IFR reported the estimated valuation earlier Wednesday.

(Updates with analyst valuations in fourth paragraph)

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