LIC Board Approves IDBI Bank Acquisition

Transaction may be via preferential shares, likely to be valued at about ₹12,000 crore

The board of the Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) approved a proposal to acquire 51% of state-run IDBI Bank, possibly through preferential shares, in a plan aimed at changing the lender’s fortunes. The government-owned insurer currently holds a 7.98% stake in the bank that’s laden with bad debt.

“Most likely (preferential shares) would be the way—the bank needs capital. They will issue preferential shares, that should be the method,” said economic affairs secretary SC Garg, who is also on the board of the state-run insurer. “The other (option) is that they can buy from the government but that does not provide capital to IDBI Bank and, therefore, that is the preferable mode to do it,” he said after the LIC board meeting in Delhi.

The government has been keen to convert IDBI Bank from a staid, state-owned entity burdened with rotten assets into a lender with the dynamic character of a private sector lender like Axis Bank. Arun Jaitley had said in his FY17 budget speech that IDBI Bank’s transformation had already begun and that the government would also consider the option of reducing its stake to below 50%.

The strategy hasn’t been without its opponents, including the unions of both LIC and IDBI Bank. The Congress and the Left parties have also criticised the plan, saying that the people’s savings with LIC would be used to bail out IDBI Bank.

IDBI Bank will soon hold a board meeting to approve the transaction that’s likely to be valued at about ₹12,000 crore, according to a government official.

LIC may Get 4 Board Seats

LIC could get four seats on the IDBI Bank board following the acquisition, the official said.

LIC will approach RBI and Sebi for approval. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has already given its nod for the acquisition by LIC. The deal is also expected to go to the Union Cabinet for approval. The government holds an 85.96% stake in the bank as of now.

Garg also indicated that LIC may not have to make an open offer as per Sebi takeover regulations because the public holding in the bank is very limited.

“Open offer may or may not come about,” Garg said. “The public shareholding is very small — it is only about 5%. And the pricing formula, etcetera, may not be attractive. But they will go through that process and if necessary they will make that open offer, but it is not a very material issue in this context.”

IDBI closed at ₹56.45 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), down 1.48% on a day the banking sector barometer Bankex shed 0.98%. IDBI Bank’s gross nonperforming assets or bad loans grew to ₹55,588 crore in March from ₹44,753 crore a year earlier.

BENEFITS FOR LIC

The government is of the view that LIC will eventually emerge as a beneficiary as it will get 2,000 branches of the bank through which it can sell its products. In addition, the bank also has real estate assets and non-core assets of ₹14,000 crore that can be monetised, said the official cited above.

The government had first announced its makeover intent in 2015. In early 2016, when Jayant Sinha was junior finance minister, some talks were held to sell the government stake to multilateral institutions. It was reported at the time that International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, was keen to acquire a stake. The other contenders were said to be GIC of Singapore, the Asian Development Bank and Commonwealth Development Corporation.

While none of the aforementioned confirmed that any talks were held, government sources said the discussions didn’t take formal shape because of differences over valuation. Sinha left the finance ministry later that year and the interest of private players fizzled out.

A senior government official told ET that there was no point in selling its stake in the bank at a low valuation that would have later been questioned in the courts and would have also drawn vigilance complaints.

“IDBI had real estate, non-core assets, but this was not being captured in the valuation process, and that is why the government’s plan keep getting delayed,” he said.

UNION VIEWS

While the LIC unions have opposed the deal on the grounds that it will hurt the interest of policyholders, the IDBI union said the government had given an assurance that IDBI Bank would not be turned into a private lender.

“This is a clear attack on the autonomy of the LIC board. The government has cornered the insurer to opt for this acquisition which is a very bad deal for us,” said Federation of LIC Class-Officers Association general secretary S Rajkumar, adding that it will join hands with all other insurance unions and take a call by the end of this week on their action plan.

The IDBI union has approached lawmakers to take up their cause in the upcoming session.

“By the end of this week we will announce the strike action. We have already approached a few parliament members to raise our concerns on the floor of both the houses,” said All India IDBI Officers’ Association general secretary Vithal Koteswara Rao. The government had given a solemn assurance on the floor of parliament that it wouldn’t allow its stake to drop below 51%, he said.

Source: Economic Times

Date: 17th July 2018

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India needs to catch up with global peers in insurance sales Insurance premium’s share in India’s GDP has been stagnant for almost four years

Yet again, the annual Swiss Re sigma report presents a bleak picture of India’s insurance sector. While the insurance premium’s share in the country’s gross domestic product may have seen an increase, India is nowhere close to the global averages when it comes to distribution of insurance.

 

Insurance premiums as a percentage of gross domestic product, referred to as penetration, has stayed below 4 percent since FY12. The Jan Suraksha Bima Yojana, that included a personal accident scheme and a term life insurance scheme, led to some boost, but the figures have more or less stayed flat.

 

In FY18, insurance penetration stood at 3.69 percent in India. In Asia, it was at 5.62 percent with Taiwan topping the list at 21.32 percent. India ranked 41st globally with Taiwan, Cayman Islands and Hong Kong being the top three in the world.

 

Similarly, the premium per person or insurance density stood at $73 in India for FY18 while it was $850 globally. Among its Asian peers where the average was $360, Hong Kong topped the list at $8,313 which was the second highest globally. Cayman Islands topped the list with density of $12,122 in 2017.

While there was a slump from FY10 to FY15, India saw an increase in its penetration only by a few basis points every year. The non-life insurance premium, which includes the mandatory motor third-party insurance policies, has not even touched 1 percent of GDP.

 

One often repeated comment is that the country’s GDP has been growing at a faster pace and the insurance sector has not been able to catch up. But considering the mega insurance schemes, including the Fasal Bima Yojana, atleast a 100 basis point increase should have been the end result. But we are nowhere close to that.

 

Weak distribution as well as low awareness have been the twin issues plaguing the industry. Unless it is mandatory or pushed by a relative, Indians simply do not seem to realise the importance of insurance purchases. A product that requires a superior financial knowledge and hence not an over-the-counter sale, insurance requires well-trained agents to explain policies.

 

Need of the hour

 

Need-based selling to ensure that a customer gets what he requires is the need of the hour. That will require agents to be more financially savvy as well as be adequately compensated for it. Banks could be high volume generators, but an insurance agent does the job best.

 

Similarly, ensuring that customers realise the need for insurance in their financial portfolio has been another challenge. It is usually the agent who ‘suggests’ a policy and the customer ends up buying it. Later, when they realise they were sold a wrong product, they let it lapse. All these factors also reflect in the penetration numbers.

 

At a time when a country’s insurance penetration and density is the first data point referred by both domestic and international agencies for preparing sector-wise reports, brushing off these numbers may not be a good idea. Doing a deep dive and smoothening the rough edges by simplification would be the first big step necessary. Rather than celebrating over the few basis point increase, the industry has to come together and analyse the factors leading to stagnant numbers and take actions immediately.

 

Source-Money Control

Date-10-07-2018

Hiring Activity sees 9% rise in June 2018 as compared to June 2017: Naukri Job Spe

The Naukri JobSpeak Index for June 2018, at 2,047, marked a 9% increase in hiring activity from June 2017 (1,885). The Real Estate and Auto industries recorded notable increases in hiring activity, growing by 19% and 26% respectively. The Telecom industry, which has been steadily regaining hiring momentum in 2018, continued to grow with an increase of 23%. Hiring was positive across the metropolitan cities, increasing by 8% in Delhi and 9% in Chennai.

Commenting on the report, V. Suresh, Chief Sales Officer, Naukri.com said, “The Job speak index has shown a healthy 9% YOY growth in June after an impressive 11% growth in May and 21% in April respectively. Non-IT sectors viz Auto, Auto Ancillary, Real estate, Construction & BFSI continue to lead the growth. We can expect the job market to be cautiously optimistic and move further north in the months to come.”

Key Highlights of the report

Hiring Trends – Industry Wise

The industries with some of the biggest increases in hiring in June were Auto/Ancillary (26%), Telecom (23%), Industrial Products/ Heavy Machinery (22%) and the BPO industry (19%). There has been increased spending on infrastructure by both public and private players, boosting the Construction/ Engineering sector. Hiring activity increased by 20% in this industry. The Banking/ Financial Services industry has also been expanding, becoming more accessible to all populations and looking to grow in rural areas. Recruitment activity increased by 12%. Hiring in the FMCG industry increased by 9%, Oil & Gas by 5% and IT-Software by 2%.

The Real Estate industry was revived by the softening of real estate prices, the implementation of RERA, and recent judicial intervention in the field. This recovery has led to an increase in hiring activity, with Real Estate clocking in a rise of 19% in recruitment. This improvement can also be seen in the month on month hiring comparisons for 2018.

Hiring trends- Skill Wise

Skill-based hiring was concentrated in the fields of HR & Administration (22%), Production/Maintenance (17%) and Banking/Insurance (9%). Leadership skills (40%) were also in high demand.

( The graph indicates month-on-month hiring comparison From June 2017 to June 2018 for key Functional Areas)

Hiring Trends – Experience Wise

The demand for young talent remained high as job creation for freshers (0-3 years) saw an increase of 12%. In line with the skill-wise hiring trends, hiring for top level management (16+ years) increased by 11%, a big change from June 2017 and May 2018. Hiring for mid-level management roles (4-7 years) rose by 8%, sub-senior roles (8-12 years) grew by 6% and senior management roles (13-16 years) saw a growth of 5% in hiring.

Hiring Trends – City Wise

All metropolitan cities showed a positive hiring sentiment.  Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi led with 10%, 9% and 8% growth respectively. Mumbai followed with an increase of 4%. Bangalore, which had slowed down last month, picked up hiring with an increase of 2% year-on-year. Kolkata, operating on a low base, showed robust momentum, growing by 29%.The emerging cities beyond the top ten cities across the country also showed increased hiring activity.

Methodology

The index has been calculated based on job listings added to the site month on month. July 2008 has been taken as the base month with a score of 1,000 and the subsequent monthly index is compared with data for July 2008.

Source-People Matters

Date-10-07-2018