MUMBAI, Dec 30, 2015:

Indian initiual public offers (IPOs) are set to raise more than US$5 billion (RM24.5 billion) in 2016, a six-year high, as corporate profit growth and a pickup in the economy drive investor demand for equities and lure firms such as Vodafone’s local unit to list.

India has been a bright spot in an otherwise dull Asian IPO market in 2015, with companies in the country raising a combined US$2.1 billion, a seven-fold jump over the previous year.

In contrast, sums raised by bigger markets such as Hong Kong and Australia, have fallen.

Investment bankers, who forecast the IPO proceeds topping US$5 billion in 2016, say besides the Vodafone unit listing, there will be several financial and technology sector companies going public next year.

“There is a healthy pipeline of deals waiting to hit the market over the next 12 to 18 months and an equally strong investor interest to buy into these deals,” said Sunil Sanghai, head of banking at HSBC in India, adding companies would need equity capital as new projects take off.

Volatile markets and slowing economic growth had dampened IPO launches in India in the past few years, and led to sluggish revenue growth and rising debt at companies in Asia’s third-largest economy.

But prime minister Narendra Modi’s push to cut bureaucratic red tape to improve ease of doing business, bolster the country’s manufacturing sector and attract more foreign capital is now set to give a boost to the IPO momentum.

And corporate earnings growth is set to quicken.

India’s listed large and mid-cap companies are expected to post an average net income growth of 21.6% in the next fiscal year beginning in April, up from 9.2% in this fiscal, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.

In what could be 2016’s top India listing, Vodafone is expected to float its India unit to raise more than US$2 billion, according to several bankers, in the biggest private-sector debut since utility Reliance Power raised US$2.9 billion in 2008.

A Vodafone spokesman in London said the mobile operator was “positively inclined” towards an IPO and that preparations had started, but a final decision on the offering would depend on factors including market and industry dynamics in India.

HDFC Life, in which British insurer Standard Life owns a stake, is expected to raise more than US$300 million via an IPO next year, bankers said, making it the first insurer to list on the Indian bourses.

Other possible listings include a roughly US$150 million IPO by private-equity backed Ujjivan Financial Services, which makes small loans to businesses and farmers, and IT services firm L&T Infotech’s about US$300 million floatation, they said.

A spokesman for L&T Infotech parent Larsen & Toubro said the unit had filed the prospectus for an IPO, but declined to comment further. HDFC Life and Ujjivan did not respond to a request for comment.

India’s benchmark BSE index is down 5.3% so far this year, but Deutsche Bank in a report this month said the index should rise more than 11% to touch 29,000 by end-2016 helped by a jump in corporate earnings.

The IPO momentum, however, could stall if the government fails to implement key reforms, including a new law to harmonise all state taxes to give a fillip to economic growth, some bankers said.

“There are some concerns about delay in pushing through reforms, which if not addressed would have an impact on the corporate as well as investor sentiment, which would in turn have an impact on demand for Indian papers,” said the equity capital market banker at a US bank.

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