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The muted debut of the much-awaited and India's biggest initial public offering Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) on the stock market was due to unpredictable market conditions, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey said on Tuesday.

The DIPAM Secretary suggested investors to hold on to the stock for long-term value.

“Nobody can predict the market. We have been saying that it should not be held for a particular day but for more than a day," Pandey said while speaking to reporters after the listing of shares.

LIC has listed its shares at a discount of 8.11 per cent at 872 per share on NSE. On BSE, the shares got listed at 867.20 apiece, down 8.62 per cent over the issue price of 949 a share.

The tepid listing has resulted in a sharp drop in the market capitalisation of the country's largest insurer.

LIC had fixed the issue price of its shares at 949 apiece after a successful initial public offering, which fetched 20,557 crore to the government.

In LIC's share-sale, which happened through offer-for-sale route, retail investors and eligible employees were offered a discount of 45 per equity share, and policyholders a discount of 60 per equity share.

LIC policyholders and retail investors have got the shares at a price of 889 and 904 apiece, respectively, after taking into account the discount offered.

Pandey said there was some protection for retail investors and policyholders who got the shares at a discount price.

Speaking at the event, LIC Chairman MR Kumar said the response for the shares in the secondary market is going to be higher which will pull the prices up.

“The markets are also jittery. We were not expecting a very big jump.

“It (stock price) will pick up as we go along. I am sure a lot of people, especially the policyholders who have missed out on the allotment will pick up the shares (in the secondary market). I don't see any reason why it should be tepid for too long," MR Kumar told reporters.

The government sold more than 22.13 crore shares or a 3.5 per cent stake in LIC through the IPO.

The price range for the IPO, the largest in the country, was fixed at 902-949 per equity share. The initial public offering of LIC, which was opened for subscription from 4 to 9 May, was subscribed 2.95 times.

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