Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) shares made a tepid debut on the stock exchanges on Tuesday, May 17, listing at a discount to the IPO price. LIC shares started trading at Rs 865 apiece, down 8.65 per cent from its IPO price of Rs 949 on BSE. The share opened at Rs 872 on NSE, an 8.8 per cent discount over the premium.
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Shares of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) listed at Rs 867.20 on the BSE, a 8.6 per cent discount when compared with its issue price of Rs 949 per share offered to qualified institutions and non-institutional buyers. On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the stock opened at Rs 872, i.e. 8 per cent lower against its issue price. By close, the stock stood at Rs 873 on the BSE.
Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said: “The subdued listing of LIC is in-line with expectations in context to the drop in market dynamics from the opening of the IPO to the listing date. The listing price has fallen in tandem with the fall of insurance sector valuations, maintaining the discount of about 70% to the industry’s average. Positively, the stock was brought at the dip. We believe that LIC is a decent investment opportunity in the short to medium-term considering its strong market presence, improvement in future profitability due to the changes in surplus distribution norms and strong sector growth outlook. LIC can perform well when we have a bounce in the market and positive performance in the insurance sector.”
B Gopkumar, MD & CEO, Axis Securities, said: “While LIC debuted at a slight discount to its issue price, investors should not look to exit at current levels and hold the stock from a medium to long-term perspective. We believe LIC continues to be a solid bet in the long run as it is a play on the growth story of the under-penetrated life insurance industry. Its sustained market leadership position, robust pan-India distribution network, and shifting focus towards profitable products, thus supporting margins and improving persistency ratios, will collectively make LIC an attractive pick from a long-term perspective.”
Yash Gupta- Equity Research Analyst, Angel One Ltd, said: “LIC has finally been listed on the exchanges and is currently trading ~5% below its issue price of Rs. 949 per share. However, Retail and LIC policyholders have received a discount of Rs. 45 and Rs. 60 respectively to the issue price and are marginally in the money. At current prices, LIC is trading at a P/EV (embedded value) of ~1.08x which is at a significant discount to other listed private life insurance companies like HDFC Life, ICICI Pru Life, and SBI Life. As expected given the adverse market conditions listing has been muted for LIC. However, cheap valuations as compared to other listed players offer comfort, and investors with a longer time horizon can hold on to their positions while retail traders with a short-term view can exit their positions in case there is any upside movement over the next few days.”
Did our best to offer a very high-value company at a fair price. Have to be mindful of preparing the roadmap going forward, says DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey
Mohit Ralhan, Managing Partner, TIW Capital Group, said: “The 8% lower debut of LIC shares is a commentary on the current state of global markets rather than the company itself. In terms of subscription, the LIC IPO was extremely successful given the fact that it was the biggest IPO of India. LIC has a solid business, trusted brand, and market leadership in an underpenetrated insurance market. In FY-21, LIC’s market share was about 75% for individual policies and 81% for group policies. It is the top life insurance company by a wide margin. The insurance industry in India is growing at an annual rate of about 15% and the growth is expected to sustain over a long period of time given that insurance penetration in India is a meager 3.2% which tends to be more than 8% for developed economies and it is about 5% in China. LIC is a typical blue-chip company that is expected to give steady returns over a long period of time and therefore returns over a day is not relevant. It is expected to remain quite attractive for investors.”
Naveen Kulkarni, CIO, Axis Securities, said that LIC’s listing at a discount was expected given the wider market decline. Kulkarni, however, recommends holding the stock.
“Listing at a discount to the price, I think to some extent it was expected, considering the markets have come down from the level when the LIC IPO was talking about a couple of months back… I would suggest that we hold on to the stock. I don’t think so we need to book losses in this stock, definitely. There is great value in the stock,” Kulkarni said.
Ravi Singh, Vice President and Head of Research at ShareIndia Securities, said: “The higher price band of LIC IPO along with the current market volatility has pushed the IPO to list at discount. However, the insurance sector outlook is attractively positioned to deliver good returns and long-term investors with an investment horizon of 3-5 years may remain in the LIC stock.”
Brokerage firm Macquarie Securities India has initiated coverage on shares of Life Insurance Corporation of India. Brokerage firm Macquaire said it has a ‘neutral’ stance on the life insurance company’s stock and a price target of Rs 1,000, which is slightly higher than the IPO price of Rs 949 per share. LIC’s IPO was subscribed nearly three times led by its policyholders and retail investors.
Macquarie Securities’ analyst Suresh Ganapathy noted that LIC has consistently lost market share in the individual business owing to lack of product diversification and excessive focus on single-premium and group business.
Ganapathy also argued that any investor who is investing in LIC is indirectly taking exposure to the domestic equity market given that a large portion of the life insurer’s embedded value consists of marked-to-market unrealized gains from equity investments.
The key benchmark indices extended gains in morning trade led by strong gains in index heavyweights ITC and Reliance Industries on Tuesday. The BSE Sensex rose 900 points to near the 54,000-mark, and the NSE Nifty climbed above the 16,100-level.
Debutant LIC is listed at Rs 867.20 on the BSE, a discount of 8.6 per cent as against the issue price of Rs 949. The stock touched a low of Rs 860.10, and then recovered and rallied to a high of Rs 920. At 11:30 AM, the stock traded at Rs 888 with trades of around 1.90 million shares so far on the BSE.
LIC listed at a discount as suspected. 2 crore shares, about 10% of the issue, sold and bought in first 15 minutes. Possibly, there is sponsored buying. True value is less than half the issue price. Looks like LIC shares are rushing towards its right valuation.
— Subhash Chandra Garg (@Subhashgarg1960) May 17, 2022
On listing, LIC eroded over Rs 42,500 crore in investor wealth, as a weak listing resulted in its market capitalisation slipping to Rs 5.57 lakh crore in early trade against just over Rs 6 lakh crore at the issue price. The stock fetched a market capitalisation of Rs 5,57,675.05 crore in the first few minutes of listing against Rs 6,00,242 crore at the issue price.
Yash Gupta, Equity Research Analyst, Angel One Ltd., “Policyholders can sell 25 per cent of allotment to book listing gains and keep 75 per cent for long term as believed at LIC IPO is at significant discount to other listed private life insurance companies line HDFC Life, ICICI Pru Life and SBI Life. While LIC valuations appear to be cheap as compared to listed private player’s investors need to keep in mind that LIC has a lower VBN margin of 9.3 per cent in 9MFY2021 as compared to private players who have VNB margins of 25-27 per cent. This is largely due to higher share of low margin participating & group insurance products in LIC’s portfolio.”
Shri Mangalam Ramasubramanian Kumar, Chairperson, @LICIndiaForever and Shri Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary @SecyDIPAM along with Shri @ashishchauhan, MD&CEO, @BSEIndia and others ringing the opening bell to mark the Listing of Life Insurance Corporation of India on 17th May, 2022 pic.twitter.com/oHRTpSUoDm
— BSE India (@BSEIndia) May 17, 2022
Hemang Jani, Head – Equity Strategy, Broking and Distribution, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: “Though LIC listing has been below the issue price of Rs 949, given the attractive valuations and stability in the markets, we expect some buying interest in the stock both from retail and intuitional investors. Since a large amount of money has been released post listing of LIC, part of this money could get diverted into equity markets.”
Shri Mangalam Ramasubramanian Kumar, Chairperson, @LICIndiaForever and Shri Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary @SecyDIPAM along with Shri @ashishchauhan, MD&CEO, @BSEIndia and others ringing the opening bell to mark the Listing of Life Insurance Corporation of India on 17th May, 2022 pic.twitter.com/wWNYVbaCIm
— BSE India (@BSEIndia) May 17, 2022
Parth Nyati, Founder, Tradingo, said: “The insurance behemoth LIC Ltd. has debuted at Rs. 872 i.e. 7 per cent below its issue price. The company’s weak listing can be attributed to high volatility in the markets and negative market sentiments. The company is synonymous with insurance in India and enjoys a phenomenal brand recall. We believe India’s highly underpenetrated life insurance space is still at a nascent stage and is attractively positioned to capture the huge growth opportunity. LIC enjoys many competitive advantages like strong brand value, extremely large scale of operations, a huge network of agents, and an envious distribution network, further, the company’s issue was priced at a Price to Embedded value of 1.1x, providing a valuation comfort, so we suggest investors to stay with the company for the long term despite the negative listing. Those who applied for listing gains can maintain a stop loss of Rs. 800. New investors can take advantage of the dips to accumulate this share for the long term. We would like to add that the company’s further downside will be limited due to low float post listing.”
Mohit Nigam, Head – PMS, Hem Securities, said: “As observed, the majority of big IPOs have not given a strong listing debut gain. Considering previous trends, LIC has continued to take the same path with listing at a discount of 8.8% from 949 to 872 at NSE on its listing day and is currently trading at 900-905 levels. We believe that personal savings and awareness regarding insurance will increase enabling the sector to outperform in the long run and will indirectly benefit LIC as it is the market leader in this sector. We feel long-term investors should continue to hold the scrip while short-term investors can wait to enter at a lower price.”
The government offloaded 3.5 per cent of its stake in the insurance behemoth to raise Rs 21,000 crore from the share sale. LIC IPO opened for subscription from May 4-9 with a price band of Rs 902-949 per share. For LIC employees and retail investors, there was a discount of Rs 45 per equity share. LIC policyholders were eligible for a discount of Rs 60 per share.
“As observed, the majority of big IPOs have not given strong listing debut gains. Considering previous trends, LIC has continued to take the same path with listing at a discount,” said Mohit Nigam, head – PMS, Hem Securities.
“We believe that personal savings and awareness regarding insurance will increase enabling the sector to outperform in the long run and will indirectly benefit LIC as it is the market leader in this sector,” he further mentioned.
On LIC IPO valuation, Yash Gupta, Equity Research Analyst, Angel One Ltd said, “At the upper end of the price band the LIC IPO is priced at P/EV (embedded value) of 1.1x which is at a significant discount to other listed private life insurance companies line HDFC Life, ICICI Pru Life and SBI Life.
For LIC investors, Parth Nyati, founder, Tradingo, said, “LIC enjoys many competitive advantages like strong brand value, extremely large scale of operations, a huge network of agents, and an envious distribution network, further, the company’s issue was priced at a Price to Embedded value of 1.1x, providing a valuation comfort, so we suggest investors to stay with the company for the long term despite the negative listing. Those who applied for listing gains can maintain a stop loss of Rs. 800. New investors can take advantage of the dips to accumulate this share for the long term. We would like to add that the company’s further downside will be limited due to low float post listing.”