The Indian government on Tuesday sold a 2% stake in ITC Limited to the Life Insurance Corporation for a sum of $993 million (approximately Rs 6,690.33 crore), according to several media reports. The state-owned Specified Undertaking of Unit Trust of India, which owned 11.12% of ITC as of December 2016, sold the stake to LIC through a block trade at approximately Rs 275.85 a share, Bloomberg reported.
Department of Investment and Public Asset Management Secretary Neeraj Gupta confirmed that a deal had taken place. but refused to provide any details. ITC’s shares rose by at least 0.87% to trade at Rs 279.30 [as of 1.44 pm] following the news of the sale. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and ICICI Securities Limited were the bankers, according to Bloomberg.
The deal is also being interpreted as part of the Narendra Modi-led government’s divestment drive, which it hopes will help fund the fiscal deficit. Excluding the ITC sale, the Indian government has raised around Rs 31,000 crore in the current financial year, Reuters reported. The government also owns a 12% stake in private sector lender Axis Bank and 6.7% in construction major Larsen & Toubro.