Prabhadevi branch of IDBI Bank (BloombergQuint)

Top India Insurer Is Planning IDBI Open Offer Soon

(Bloomberg) -- Life Insurance Corporation of India may make an open offer as early as Tuesday to buy the outstanding shares of IDBI Bank Ltd. from minority shareholders, said people familiar with the matter.

IDBI’s board will approve a preferential sale of shares to LIC at a meeting on Tuesday and probably inform the stock exchange of the decision and the open offer, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. LIC had on Monday agreed to raise its stake in IDBI to 51 percent from 8 percent by paying about 130 billion rupees ($1.9 billion).

While India’s regulator mandates an open offer to buy out remaining shareholders when an entity acquires 25 percent or more of a listed firm, an open offer for IDBI may or may not happen given its low public holdings, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said Monday. LIC and the government together hold about 94 percent of IDBI Bank.

Finance Ministry spokesman D.S. Malik declined to comment. A spokesman for LIC didn’t reply to an email and phone call. An IDBI representative didn’t immediately reply to a phone call. Shares of IDBI Bank, which surged as much as 6.2 percent, gained 3 percent at 2:41 p.m. in Mumbai.

“Majority stake acquisition by the largest local investor and insurance company in India has restored investors’ confidence in IDBI Bank to an extent,” said Soumen Chatterjee, head of research at Guiness Securities Ltd. “Moreover, we believe that the NPA cycle is very close to being over.”

Non-performing assets at IDBI Bank stood at 28 percent as of March 31, the highest among the nation’s lenders, while profitability as measured by return on assets dropped to a negative 6.68 percent, filings show.

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