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SC refuses to grant interim relief on pleas challenging LIC IPO allotment

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ECONOMY

New Delhi, May 12 | Updated on: May 12, 2022

Issues notice to Centre and LIC on the batch of pleas seeking their response within eight weeks

The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to grant any interim relief and stay the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) IPO share allotment on a batch of pleas filed by some policyholders.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said that the court should be reluctant to grant any interim relief in matters of commercial investments and IPO. “We are not inclined to grant any interim relief,” the bench said, as it issued notice to the Centre and LIC on the batch of pleas seeking their response within eight weeks.

The bench said that on the aspect of interim relief the court must be guided by the well-settled principle of prima facie case, balance of convenience and whether there is any irreparable injury.

The bench noted that one of the pleas has challenged the interim order passed by the Bombay High Court and disposed it, saying the writ petition before the high court will be transferred to the apex court. The top court tagged the batch of pleas with a pending matter referred to a Constitution bench on the issue of passage of the Finance Act, 2021, as a money bill. 

Alloted quota vs bids

The LIC IPO opened on May 4 for retail and other investors, and is set to be allotted on Thursday. The net issue of the mega ₹21,000-crore IPO of LIC was subscribed 2.95 times, receiving bids for 47.83 crore equity shares against the IPO size of 16.2 crore.

While the portion set aside for policyholders was subscribed 6.11 times, employees bid 4.39 times the allotted quota and retail investors 1.99 times, and the reserved portion of qualified institutional buyers was booked 2.83 times and that of non-institutional investors’ 2.91 times.

The Centre, through this mega IPO — which was open from May 4 to 9, has offloaded 3.5 per cent shareholding in the insurance behemoth. It maybe recalled that the anchor book — which was opened on May 2 – saw bids of over ₹7,000 crore against the anchor book portion of ₹5,360 crore.

Domestically-lifted issue

The Government claims this issue response is a reflection of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. This issue has been domestically (by domestic investors) lifted. This IPO will deepen capital market and facilitate large number of investors to own shares in public sector organisations like LIC, Department of Public Asset and Investment (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said.

This remark is a clear pointer that the response of foreign investors to the IPO has been muted and belied expectations. Pandey also said the allocation will happen on May 12 and the listing on May 17. “Last few days, investors have been taking their own calls. We have facilitated investors in all possible ways. Let us hope everything goes well on listing day,” he said, while adding that the IPO was a record in terms of the number of applications, exceeding 60 lakh.

Published on May 12, 2022

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