The government will proceed with the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) of the state-run insurance giant LIC, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on February 22, despite concerns about the potential fallout from Russia-Ukraine tensions.
“There is a lot of buzz in the market, and there is a lot of interest in the LIC IPO. We’re going ahead with it,” FM Sitharaman stated. She did, however, add that “we are equally concerned if the market situation is conducive.”
On February 13, the draft red herring prospectus for the LIC IPO was made public. The offer is for the sale of up to 316.25 million shares, or about 5% of the Centre’s holdings in the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
The release of the DRHP, according to Sitharaman, has heightened interest in the LIC IPO. “I think the way it’s put together has piqued people’s interest,” she added.
Since February 21, Sitharaman has been in Mumbai for a two-day visit, meeting with stakeholders from the industry, trade, and financial markets. The Union Budget for the fiscal year 2022-23, which was recently passed, was the topic of discussion.
The finance minister’s press conference comes at a time when the fragile situation in eastern Europe has sent markets around the world into a frenzy. Oil prices have skyrocketed, surpassing $99 per barrel earlier in the day.
In response to a reporter’s question about whether the government would consider tax relief in light of rising crude prices, Sitharaman stated, “Crude oil is in a worrying situation, with all of these headwinds on the crude. We actually stated that we wanted a diplomatic solution to the situation that is developing in Ukraine. It is one of the most crucial considerations. We’ll have to wait and see how things go. We’re keeping an eye on Brent.”
The finance minister noted that the Centre had already reduced fuel taxation beginning in October of last year in an effort to lower domestic fuel prices.