Mumbai: IFMR group, which provides financial services to lower income population and the companies serving this segment, plans to go public and is in talks to hire investment banks for the same, two people aware of the development said.

The IFMR group was set up in 2007 by former ICICI Bank executives Bindu Ananth and Nachiket Mor. The group runs various businesses, including IFMR Rural Channels, a rural wealth management network that offers a range of financial products and services to individuals and small enterprises; IFMR Capital, which offers financial inclusion-focused financial institutions with access to debt capital markets; IFMR Investment Managers, an asset management firm; and IFMR Rural Finance, a fintech platform.

“IFMR is in talks with investment banks for an initial public offering of the holding company of the group. They are in advanced talks with banks and are expected to soon appoint a banker syndicate to manage the IPO," said one of the people cited above, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the media. IFMR Holdings is the holding company of the group.

The group is expected to raise at least Rs1,000 crore, this person said. “These are early days and the structure of the transaction, whether it will be a primary or a mix of primary and secondary share sale is yet to be decided by the group," he added.

IFMR declined to comment on the development.

The group’s IFMR Capital business provides access to capital for institutions that lend to financially excluded households and businesses and has raised over Rs45,000 crore for its clients. The company helps these institutions tap the financial markets through structured finance products across securitisations, bonds, commercial papers, guarantees etc. IFMR Rural Channels provides customers with financial products such as credit, savings, insurance, pension and payments in the states of Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Odisha, through a network of over a couple of hundred branches and over 1,000 wealth managers.

IFMR joins a long list of financial services companies going public this year. On 5 January, Mint reported that microlender Kedaara Capital is planning to launch its IPO in 2018. Earlier on 1 January, Bandhan Bank Ltd filed its draft IPO papers with the regulators. The bank plans to launch its public offering by March or April, Mint reported.

According to various media reports, several lenders such as Grameen Koota Financial Services Pvt Ltd and Arohan Financial Services Ltd are planning to go public this year.

Other financial services companies that plan to go public include ICICI Securities Ltd, HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd and Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd.

India’s IPO market witnessed a record fundraising year in 2017 on the back of the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector.

In 2017, 36 companies raised Rs67,147 crore through the IPO route, while in 2016, 26 companies raised Rs26,493.8 crore through IPOs, data from primary market tracker Prime Database shows. The year 2017 witnessed several BFSI issuances such as General Insurance Corp. of India Ltd, HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd, SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd, AU Small Finance Bank Ltd, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd and BSE Ltd.

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