LIC cuts exposure in equities, sell shares worth Rs 12,600 cr, Axis Bank on top


State-run Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC), a major domestic institutional investor, sold shares worth Rs 12,600 crore (about $2.32 billion) in companies related to financial, auto and pharma sectors in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal.

At the same time, LIC acquired shares worth about Rs 3,877 crore (about $ 714 million) in energy, metal and mining and software companies, the global research report by BofA-Merrill Lynch said.

LIC sold shares of private lenders --Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank--drug major Sun Pharma and auto firm Mahindra & Mahindra, while bought shares of energy companies-- Reliance Power, Cairn India and Reliance Industries-- IT giant Infosys, and FMCG firm ITC, the report said.

"State-run LIC lowered its exposure to companies like Axis Bank (with sale of shares for an estimated $891 million), Mahindra & Mahindra ($177 million), HDFC Bank ($ 157 million), Sun Pharma ($154 million) and ICICI Bank ($145 million)," the report said.

On the other hand, LIC's major investment during the quarter included Reliance Power ($203 million), Infosys ($162 million), Cairn India ($150 million), Reliance Industries ($142 million) and ITC ($94 million).

The report said that LIC has emerged as net sellers during October-December quarter and most of the pullout was from private sector companies.

Also, LIC was net seller during the July-September quarter 2012 with the insurer purchasing shares worth an estimated $ 1.3 billion (Rs 7,020 crore) in India equities and selling shares to the tune of $ 436 million (Rs 2,355 crore).

In terms of sectors, LIC sold shares valued at $ 1.45 billion in the finance portfolio during the three months ended December 31, 2012 followed by auto ($ 368 million), pharma ($ 325 million), industrial ($ 82 million), cement ($ 81 million) and chemicals ($ 7 million), the report said.

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