Life Insurance Corporation of India has once again lent its hand to the Government in the disinvestment programme. The recent instance was the offer-for-sale by the Steel Authority of India (SAIL).

According to information with the stock exchanges, LIC’s stake in SAIL after the offer increased to 9.13 per cent or 37.71 crore shares.

According to the disclosure, the insurance major bought 16.96 crore shares, between September 22, 2008, and March 22, 2013.

The Government last week sold 24.04 crore SAIL shares through the auction window at the exchanges.

At the end of December 31, 2012, LIC had 3.69 per cent stake or 15.24 crore shares in the steel major and prior to the auction, it held 20.75 crore shares or 5.023 per cent stake, it was disclosed now.

Buys 16.96 cr shares

That means, between January 1 and March 21, LIC bought 5.35 crore shares in SAIL. In the auction on March 22, the insurance major acquired another 16.96 crore shares — representing about 70 per cent of the shares auctioned by the Government.

The offer-for-sale of 5.82 per cent Government stake was fully subscribed at an indicative price of Rs 63.07 a share, helping the Government raise Rs 1,520 crore.

After the share sale, the Government's stake in SAIL has been reduced to 80 per cent from 85.82 per cent.

Earlier, the Centre was looking at selling 10.82 per cent of its holdings SAIL through this offer, but later decided to offload only 5.82 per cent due to SAIL’s poor show at the bourses.

The remaining stake may be disinvested in the next financial year at better valuations after the company completes its ongoing expansion plans.

In this fiscal, the Centre had divested stake in eight PSUs through the auction route, including Oil India, NTPC, NMDC and Hindustan Copper.

The Centre has mopped up about Rs 23,900 crore through disinvestment this fiscal.