State-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), India's largest insurance company, is planning to invest about Rs. 45,000 crore in equities in the current financial year (2012-12) which is around the same amount it had invested in the previous fiscal. Overall, the insurer plans to invest little over Rs. 200,000 crore in debt and equity makets put together during the year.
“Last year, we had put in about Rs. 195,000 crore in the market (debt and equities) including all our investments. This year we plan to put little over Rs. 200,000 crore,” said DK Mehrotra, chairman, LIC who was speaking to the reporters at the inauguration of a new corporate office of subsidiary firm LIC Housing Finance. “In equities, last year we had gone up to the level of Rs. 45,000 crore. This year we will be able to reach that level,” he said.
Mehrotra said LIC was bullish on the pharmaceutical, information technology (IT), banking and consumer goods sectors and planned to invest in companies in these sectors.
Leading equity indices have risen by around 25% since the beginning of the year on the back of reform measures announced by the government such as allowing more foreign direct investment in the insurance and retail sectors.
Mehrotra eiterated that LIC Housing finance was keen to enter the banking sector but was waiting for final guidelines from the Reserve Bank of India before applying for a licence.
Though it is facing competition from new entrants allowed under the reform programme that allows foreign direct investment in the insurance sector, the state-run behemoth is flush with cash from premia earned from millions of policies sold by its decades-old network of agents.