State Bank of India says to begin process for life insurance arm IPO: Reuters

State Bank of India (SBI.NS), the nation’s top lender by assets, said on Friday it would begin the process for an initial public offering (IPO) of its life insurance arm, with plans to sell a 10 percent stake.

The bank said in a filing it would explore selling an 8 percent stake in SBI Life in the IPO, while a senior executive separately said the lender’s partner in the joint venture, BNP Paribas Cardif, would sell a 2 percent stake.

“End of September is the earliest that we can contemplate going to the market subject to all regulatory approvals and clearances,” SBI Life Chief Executive Arijit Basu told Reuters when asked about the timeline for launching the IPO.

SBI owns 70.1 percent of the life insurer, while BNP Paribas Cardif owns 26 percent.

The bank in December agreed to sell a 3.9 percent stake in SBI Life to affiliates of KKR (KKR.N) and Temasek [TEM.UL] for 17.94 billion rupees ($274.3 million).

SBI Life’s IPO comes after top private sector life insurer ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd’s (ICIR.NS) 60.57 billion-rupee initial share sale last September.

HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co Ltd, another bigger private sector life insurer, aims to get listed via its acquisition of smaller rival Max Life Insurance. That deal, agreed in August last year, is still awaiting regulatory approvals.