HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company’s Rs 8,700-crore initial public offering (IPO) — the largest by a private sector firm in nearly a decade — was subscribed five times on Thursday, the last day of the offering. The IPO saw bids worth Rs 30,827 crore, of which more than 80 per cent came from qualified institutional buyers (QIBs). The institutional investor category saw 16 times more demand than shares on offer. Barring for the QIB portion, most other categories saw a lukewarm response. The retail portion was subscribed 80 per cent, with some bids yet to be uploaded. The high net worth individual (HNI) portion was subscribed 2.3 times. Market players say poor post-listing performance of insurance companies that came out with offers in recent months impacted small investors’ sentiment towards the IPO. Shares of life insurer SBI Life and reinsurance company GIC Re, both of whom made their stock market debut last month, are currently trading below their IPO price. Analysts say companies in this space are a play on higher penetration of insurance products amid rising share of financial assets in household savings. Insurance in India is deeply under-penetrated currently.
But, these benefits will only accrue in the long term, they warn.“Given the mature valuations, investors can subscribe to the issue from a long-term perspective. It must be noted that since the issue is being offered at expensive valuation, it may not attract major listing gains,” said Centrum in an IPO note on the company. HDFC Life had set the price band for IPO at Rs 275-290 per share. At the top end, the company is valued at 4.2 times its embedded value as of September. In comparison, listed peers ICICI Prudential and SBI Life are valued at 3.2 times and 3.6 times, respectively. At the top end, HDFC Standard will have a market cap of Rs 61,400 crore. “We believe slight premium is justifiable, considering, consistent growth across premium categories, improving dividend payout over last four years, strong parentage, trusted brand name, highest value of new business margin (22 per cent for FY17) and well-balanced business mix,” said a note by Angel Broking. At the top end, HDFC Standard will have a market cap of Rs 61,400 crore. HDFC Life was established in the year 2000 as a joint venture between the country’s leading mortgage loan provider HDFC and UK-based Standard Life. HDFC Life’s IPO was entirely an offer for sale, where HDFC and Standard Life sold shares worth Rs 5,540 crore and Rs 3,160 crore, respectively. Prior to the IPO, HDFC held 61.21 per cent and Standard Life Mauritius 34.75 per cent in the company, which will now fall to 51.7 per cent and 29.3 per cent, respectively.