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New Delhi: Industrial Finance Corporation of India Ltd (IFCI), an Indian state-run lender, may sign an agreement to sell part of its 5.5% stake in the nation’s biggest stock exchange in three days.

IFCI is in advanced talks with an overseas private equity fund to sell 1.1% stake in the National Stock Exchange (NSE). PricewaterhouseCoopers Llp is helping the New Delhi-based company with the sale, chief executive officer (CEO) Malay Mukherjee said, without disclosing details.

The lender’s profitability as measured by the return on common equity has declined for seven straight years and was at 7.7% in the year ended 31 March, data compiled by Bloomberg show. IFCI, which initially held a 12.44% stake in the Mumbai-based bourse, in 2007 sold 7% to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., NYSE Group Inc., General Atlantic Llc and Softbank Asian Infrastructure Fund.

“If this comes, that would make my balance sheet much healthier as far as the bottom line is concerned," Mukherjee said in an interview on Wednesday.

IFCI’s shares fell 2% to 36.85 as of 11:28am in Mumbai.

The lender first attempted to sell the stake in October. That was delayed as the bids from investors were below expectations, according to Mukherjee who declined to comment on the valuations sought by the company.

The bourse’s other existing investors include Life Insurance Corp. (LIC) of India, State Bank of India and IDFC Ltd. IDBI Bank Ltd, another stake holder in NSE, is also seeking buyers for its stake of about 5%, a 19 December advertisement in the news paper showed. Bloomberg

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