Mumbai: Power Grid Corp of India’s share sale to raise as much $1.7 billion was nearly 10 times subscribed on Thursday, the last day of orders for institutions, as investors sought defensive exposure to surging electricity demand.

The offer attracted bids worth $9.3 billion from foreign investors, exchange data showed, powered by record fund inflows into shares this year.

“Pricing is quite attractive. I’d call it ‘action replay´ as the government was enthused by Coal India and has priced it well," said independent analyst SP Tulsian.

Institutions subscribed for 18.5 times the shares on offer to them, while the non-institutional and retail portions of the deal were subscribed 1.6 times and 0.7 times, respectively. Most bids came at the top-end of the Rs85-90 price range, data showed.

“It will be priced at the upper end of the band -- at 90 -- no question about that. All HNIs (high net worth individuals), from the information that I have, are quite bullish and the guys involved in the market too have been very bullish," Tulsian said.

The Power Grid share sale, which opened Tuesday, was fully subscribed on its first day with the stock seen as a safe bet on demand growth in a power-starved nation.

The world’s third-largest power transmission company operates 95% of India’s interstate network, carrying half of all power generated in the country.

Its share sale is part of India’s ongoing divestment programme, which is enjoying a boost from record foreign funds flowing into Indian stocks.

The Power Grid sale comes after a highly successful $3.4 billion IPO of state-run Coal India. Three other share sales in government firms planned by the end of December are expected to generate about $2.2 billion.

On Thursday, Power Grid’s shares ended down 0.78% at Rs1,01.2 on the BSE.