India’s biggest IPO attracts Norway wealth fund, GIC

India is in talks to sign up Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and GIC Pte as anchor investors for the country’s biggest initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter, as the government presses ahead with the sale despite a volatile market.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is also among those in discussions to participate in Life Insurance Corporation of India’s first-time share sale, which could raise as much as 210bn rupees ($2.7bn), the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. 

BlackRock Inc and Fidelity have been approached as well, they added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is looking to finalise the anchor investor list within days, the people said. Deliberations are ongoing and the investors could choose not to proceed, the people said. Representatives for ADIA, GIC and the Norwegian sovereign fund declined to comment, while representatives for BlackRock, Fidelity and the Indian finance ministry didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

LIC’s IPO, which had previously been touted as India’s Aramco moment in reference to Gulf oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co’s $29.4bn listing in 2019, will test the depth of India’s capital market. Firms in India have raised about $1.1bn through IPOs this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s less than half of the nearly $3bn raised in the same period in 2021.

The Indian government plans to sell 221.4mn shares, or a 3.5% stake, at 902 rupees to 949 rupees each in LIC’s IPO. The offering opens for anchor investors on May 2. About 10% of the shares are reserved for LIC policyholders who will be able to buy them at a discount to the issue price. Retail investors can also buy shares at a discount.