SYDNEY/NEW DELHI -A public offering of shares by India's state-run Life Insurance Corp (LIC), set to be the country's biggest ever at $8 billion, is expected to open for anchor investors on March 11, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The book will open for bidding by other investors a couple of days later, the sources said.
LIC's initial public offering (IPO) is expected to obtain regulatory approval by the first week of March, after which an indicative marketing price band will be set, said the sources, declining to be named as the deal discussions are private.
LIC declined to comment. A finance ministry spokesperson did not immediately respond to a Reuters request seeking comment.
The sources said that the IPO launch schedule could change, though for now the issuer was working to meet those timelines.
LIC, the country's largest insurance company, filed a draft IPO prospectus on Sunday with the market regulator to sell 5% of the Indian government's stake to potentially raise nearly $8 billion..
Sources had told Reuters last month that LIC could begin issuing public shares by mid-March. They did not elaborate.
The government is rushing to complete the IPO by the end of March to meet its 2021/22 fiscal deficit target of 6.4% of gross domestic product (GDP), which is contingent on it raising around 600 billion Indian rupees ($8.03 billion) from the issue.
New Delhi sharply trimmed its divestment and privatisation plans for the fiscal year that ends on March 31 to 780 billion rupees from 1.75 trillion.
So far it has raised just 120 billion rupees from divesting stakes in state-run companies as it failed to privatise, including run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and two banks.