ICICI to list insurance units when valuations optimum: Kochhar

Tags: Banking
Top private sector lender ICICI Bank will consider listing its two insurance units to unlock value at an opportune time when it feels that valuations are optimum, the bank's chief Chanda Kochhar has said.

"We will take this step when we feel that the valuations are really optimum. We can mainly look at two insurance companies -- life and general insurance units," Kochhar said.

While making it clear that there were no immediate plans for listing of any of its subsidiaries, she said, "Clearly, at some point of time we will look at some amount of unlocking of value, more so from the point of view that it establishes a benchmark and it is always good to have a benchmark.

"But the thing is that we do not really need capital, whether it is in the bank or in the insurance company," Kochhar told PTI in interview.

Asked whether the group could also consider listing of mutual fund business unit, the bank's Managing Director and CEO replied in the negative.

"In mutual fund, the equity base is always very small and so two insurance companies are the major contenders. But nothing is in the offing as of now," she said.

About brokerage unit ICICI Securities, Kochhar said, "I-Sec has been doing good business, they participate in lots of deals, they have handled most of the QIPs that are taking place now, they have worked on many government issues."

At the end of last fiscal, ICICI Bank had 17 subsidiaries, including six in overseas markets. The major domestic subsidiaries include ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company, ICICI Securities, ICICI Venture Funds Management and ICICI Home Finance.

In ICICI Bank's latest annual report, Kochhar had said that the bank's subsidiaries achieved healthy performance in fiscal 2014.

"Our life insurance subsidiary sustained its profitability and maintained its position as the largest private sector life insurer in the country. Our general insurance subsidiary saw strong improvement in profitability in fiscal 2014 while maintaining its market leadership position among private players.

"Our asset management subsidiary became the second largest mutual fund manager in the country in fiscal 2014, and was recognised for its strong fund performance. Our other domestic subsidiaries continued to maintain their profitability, despite the volatility in financial markets," she had said in her letter to shareholders.

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