IPO norms for non-life insurance cos in 3 weeks: IRDA

New Delhi: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) today said that by end-September it will finalise the initial public offer (IPO) guidelines for non-life insurance companies that will allow them to raise funds from the capital market, reports PTI.

"As regards the IPO of non-life companies there are certain aspects which we have to finalise in IRDA. Hopefully, we will finalise those issues in next three weeks," IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan said on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Health Insurance Summit here.

Mr Hari Narayan said the proposed IPO guidelines for non-life insurance firms were in the process of finalisation before they were sent to SCADA, a body constituted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), for approval followed by a final approval from the market regulator.

"We hope to finalise the guidelines in three weeks and sent it to SCADA (a SEBI body)," he said.

As for the life industry IPO guidelines, he said, the matter was at very advanced stage, awaiting SEBI approval.

"SCADA has already approved the IPO guidelines for life insurance companies. The matter is currently engaging the attention of SEBI," Mr Hari Narayan said.

Currently, most of the 22 private life insurers and 17 non-life players have foreign partners and the Insurance Act caps foreign direct investment at 26%.

As per the Insurance Act, promoters having 26% stake can offload equity after 10 years of operation. The legislation also empowers the government to reduce the mandatory period.

IRDA had already notified the disclosure norms, necessary for providing details about the operations and balance sheets on quarterly and yearly basis. The IPO guidelines will deal with minimum norms that a company must fulfil before hitting the capital markets.

The general insurance sector has 21 players, which include four state-owned companies.

Several private sector insurers, including Reliance Life and HDFC Standard Life, have shown interest in tapping the capital market to augment their resource base.

The private players are waiting to tap the primary markets to augment their resource base, as all of them are yet to break even.


Personal finance Thursday

Benchmark MF floats Infra BeES; Reliance MF introduces Reliance Index Fund-Sensex Plan; IndiaFirst launches Smart Save and Young India; MetLife India unveils Met Smart Platinum

Benchmark MF floats Infra BeES

Benchmark Mutual Fund has launched Infrastructure Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme (Infra BeES), an open-ended exchange traded fund (ETF). The investment objective of the scheme is to provide returns that, before expenses, closely correspond to the total returns of the securities as represented by the CNX Infrastructure Index by investing in the securities in the same proportion as in the index. The new fund offer (NFO) price is Rs10 plus premium per unit. Minimum investment amount is Rs10,000. The issue opens on 9 September 2010 and closes on 23 September 2010. The exit load for the scheme is nil. 

Reliance MF introduces Reliance Index Fund-Sensex Plan

Reliance Mutual Fund has introduced Reliance Index Fund-Sensex Plan, an open-ended growth scheme. The investment objective of the scheme is to replicate the composition of the Sensex, with a view to generate returns that are commensurate with the performance of the Sensex, subject to tracking errors. The scheme offers two options - growth and dividend. It opens on 9 September 2010 and closes on 23 September 2010. An exit load of 1% will be applicable if the units are redeemed on or before the completion of one year from the date of allotment. The new fund offer (NFO) price is Rs10 per unit. Minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The benchmark index for the scheme is BSE Sensex.

IndiaFirst launches Smart Save and Young India

IndiaFirst Life Insurance has launched two new unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs) - IndiaFirst Smart Save Plan and IndiaFirst Young India Plan. Both ULIPs - Smart Save Plan and Young India Plan provide insurance cover and market linked investments growth. Both plans provide customers the facility of loan and offer portability. They also offer the customer a choice to invest across five different funds. The minimum term of the Smart Save Plan is 15 years. The minimum term of the Young India Plan is 10 years. Young India Plan has an additional benefit equal to the sum of all future premium(s) payable on the life assured's death or disability due to an accident.

MetLife India unveils Met Smart Platinum

MetLife India Insurance has launched its first unit-linked insurance plan (ULIP) -Met Smart Platinum. The product is bundled with an investment strategy that incorporates event-based auto-rebalancing to ensure better risk-management while optimising returns. It offers customers the option to choose the allocation of desired percentages of their investment between a high risk fund (Flexi Cap) and a low risk fund (Protector II) depending on their risk appetite. The flexibility offered to the customers by Met Smart Platinum allows them to make top-up investments apart from allowing partial withdrawals in case the customer needs emergency liquidity of funds. The plan also allows customers to increase and decrease the life coverage depending upon their changing lifestyle needs as they cross different stages of their life.


BHEL mulls JV to finance power projects

New Delhi: State-run BHEL is exploring the possibility of formation of a separate finance company as a joint venture with a strategic partner to finance power projects, reports PTI.

"We have floated EOI (Expression of Interest) for consultation for appointment of a consultant to work on ideas to use our cash reserves," CMD BHEL B P Rao said.

"We would appoint a consultant who would advise us on such issues like leveraging our resources to increase our exposure in the power sector, we may pick up minority stake ... 26% (stake) in the power projects," Mr Rao said.

"We may go for a separate investment arm for BHEL for funding power sector projects ... lets see what works out," he said adding that the NBFC can target the opportunities in overseas markets also," he added.

BHEL floated the tender for appointment of the consultant a couple of days and is likely to do the appointment in a month from now.

"We may finalise the consultant in a month," he added.

BHEL is currently engaged in manufacturing power equipment, transportation and auto components.

At present, the company manufactures equipment that can generate 15,000 MW of electricity and is planning to augment this capacity to 20,000 MW by March, 2012.


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