Feb 14, 2022 - Economy & Business

Life Insurance Corporation of India files for $8 billion IPO

Illustration of Life Insurance Corp. of India's logo.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. IPO market is in hibernation, thanks to a combination of macro volatility and nearly a year of poor performance.

Why it matters: This is particularly true of large offerings. Just five U.S. IPOs in 2022 have raised at least $100 million, of which only one scored $1 billion. The forward-looking calendar is vacant. But there is big-money IPO activity elsewhere.

Driving the news: Life Insurance Corp. of India has filed to raise the equivalent of nearly $8 billion. This would smash the Indian IPO record set last year by Paytm, which brought in around $2.5 billion.

  • Paytm has seen its shares lose over half their value since going public, so expect state-run LIC to be much more conservative on pricing.
  • Particularly given that other state-run Indian companies — including two other insurers — have mirrored the Paytm experience since their own floats.

What to watch, if it works:

  • There’s an IPO market maxim that select private companies can successfully list regardless of what’s going on around them.
  • LIC should be one of those standouts, as it’s a stable, 65 year-old insurer that’s already scaled back the amount it’s seeking to raise. Failure would cause other big pre-IPO companies around the world, and their investors, to take note.

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