LIC may buy more stake in IL&FS

LIC may buy more stake in IL&FS

State-owned insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), the largest shareholder in Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) may buy some more stakes in the debt-ridden firm whose series of defaults on debt obligations have spooked the country's financial markets, upping a contagion threat.

“All efforts will be made to ensure IL&FS does not go bankrupt,” LIC Chairman V K Sharma told reporters after a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Minutes after that the finance minister said the government was closely monitoring the situation.

LIC owns a little more than 25% in IL&FS. Others are Japan’s Orix Corporation (23.54%), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (12.56%), Housing Development Finance Corporation (9.02%), Central Bank of India (7.67%) and State Bank of India (6.42%).

The assurance came after a series of debt delays and defaults of IL&FS came to light in the recent months that included a Rs 1,000 crore from SIDBI and loans from IDBI. One of its subsidiaries had also defaulted Rs 500 crore dues to a development finance institution.

Following this, the rating agencies ICRA and Care dowgraded the parent and its subsidiaries from investment grade to junk earlier this month. The crisis was also being linked to the Lehman crash of 2007-08 after which the RBI, Sebi and the Centre issued assurances that the regulator and the government was ready with the fire power.

With a total debt of Rs 91,000 cr, IL&FS crisis is also likely to hit the completion of at least two lines of Bengaluru's Namma Metro project - Mysuru Road and K R Puram Silk Board on which the Mumbai-based infrastructure development firm was working at the moment.

According to reports, IL&FS is also responsible for construction of four elevated metro stations at Nayandahalli, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Jnanabharathi and Pattanagere on Mysuru Road.