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IRDAI Board Meet: LIC gets nod to buy 51% in IDBI Bank

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) on Friday approved a proposal by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to raise its stake in IDBI Bank up to 51% from the current 10.82%, giving the country’s largest insurer special relaxation from its 15% holding cap for insurers in a single firm. The deal will save the government from having to infuse more funds into IDBI Bank, which had received as much as Rs 10,610 crore last fiscal, the most by any public-sector bank (PSB). However, analysts said it will test the resolve of regulators who may have to extend a series of such special waivers for LIC for the deal to go through. Also, analysts feel the deal to acquire the stressed bank could also cast clouds on LIC’s fiduciary duty to its millions of policyholders.

It is not immediately clear whether the deal involves fresh equity infusion by IDBI Bank or a direct sale of the government’s stake in the bank that currently stands at 81%.

A senior Irdai executive present at the meeting told FE: “We have also asked LIC to decide by when it plans to reduce its stake below the regulatory limit of 15% (once its acquisition of more stake is over). This decision will be taken by its board of directors.”


The additional stake would cost LIC more than Rs 9,000 crore. While it was reported that LIC could infuse Rs 13,000 crore into IDBI Bank, the lender on Friday informed the stock exchanges that “no such discussion has taken place” in its board.

Despite massive infusion by the government last fiscal, IDBI Bank’s core equity capital stood at 7.42% as on March 31, just above the minimum regulatory requirement of 7.37%. Its gross non-performing assets (NPAs) zoomed to 27.95% and net NPAs to 16.69%, the most reported by any PSB.

Having fallen as much as 16% in the past one month, shares of IDBI Bank surged over 10% on Friday amid reports of the acquisition of a majority stake by LIC. The share jumped almost 12% in intra-day trade before shedding gains.

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