LIC board approves IDBI Bank stake purchase

• The board of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has approved the proposal for the insurer to hold a 51% stake in IDBI Bank, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs.

• The life insurer has around 7.5% stake in LIC at present and will acquire the remaining stake from the government, Garg said, adding that in most probability IDBI Bank will issue preference shares to LIC to complete the deal.

• Using this route rather than LIC directly buying the government’s stake in IDBI Bank will ensure that the bank receives the capital.

• He added that an open offer may not be required as the public shareholding in IDBI Bank is very small at 5%. “LIC will go through the process and make the open offer if necessary, but it is not very material.” He said the pricing of the deal will depend on the formula of the preference share issuance.

• The deal will require the nod of the government.

• The government has a 85.96% stake in IDBI Bank.

• The government has been trying to privatize IDBI Bank for the past couple of years in the wake of mounting losses and rising bad debts. IDBI Bank’s loss widened to ₹8,237.92 crore in the fiscal year ended 31 March from ₹5,158 crore in the previous year.

• Its gross bad loans almost doubled to ₹55,588.26 crore during 2017-18, which were 32.36% of the bank’s gross advances during the year.

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