ICICI Lombard IPO offers slice of nascent market at hefty premium:

India’s general insurance market has just begun to stir, reason enough for investors to give a resounding welcome to ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co.’s initial public offering (IPO).

But that is just the first- mover advantage. ICICI Lombard holds a little over 8% of the grossly under-penetrated non-life insurance market where only 30 companies do business. Public sector firms—there are four of them—own more than half of the non-life insurance market.

The insurer has priced its share offer at Rs651-661 apiece and hopes to rake in close to Rs5,700 crore through the IPO. At this band, the company is valued at around Rs30,000 crore, a jump of 48% in just six months. In May, the general insurer’s Canadian shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd diluted its stake that had valued ICICI Lombard at a little over Rs20,000 crore.

The general insurer’s management believes that the potential growth in business due to the sheer under-penetration in the market and the fact that ICICI Lombard has an enviable diversified distribution channel are also reasons for the appreciation in valuation.

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