Mumbai, Feb 20 (PTI) State-run Punjab National Bank may look at listing its life insurance arm next financial year and is currently in the process of selling its 4 percent of 30 percent stake in PNB Metlife to discover price.

The insurance company has been talking about an IPO for quite since 2016 and the issue is necessitated by the American financial services major and its partner Metlife Inc’s plans to exit the company.

Founded in 2001, PNB Metlife, based in Mumbai, is a joint venture between the state-run bank with a 30 percent shareholding, Metlife owns 26 percent, Elpro 21 percent, M Pallonji & Company 18 percent, and Jammu & Kashmir Bank owns the remaining 5 percent stake.

“We will enter at the market at the right time with an IPO for PNB Metlife. Right now the market is subdued. So maybe next financial year we will hit the market,” PNB managing director and chief executive Sunil Mehta told reporters on the sidelines of a banking technology meet organised by IBA here.

Currently, the bank is looking to sell 4 percent stake in PNB Metlife as part of a price discovery process, he and refused to put an issue size for the IPO.

Mehta said the bank has received bids from buyers to its stake sale in housing finance subsidiary PNB Housing Finance and is now negotiating.

When asked the amount that the bank is looking to raise from stake in PNB Housing Finance, Mehta said, “that will depend on the offers on the table. It is premature to talk about it right now.”

It employs around 10,000 and had Rs 2,128 crore of share capital as of March 2018.

In 2017, MetLife had initiated a process of selling its 26 percent stake in PNB Metlife by handing out a list of potential buyers to its investment bankers. The reportedly buyers included Kotak Life, Tata AIA and ICICI Prudential Life but has not materialised so far.

There were also media reports last year that Tata Sons had plans to snap up 70 percent of PNB Metlife and merge it with Tata AIA Life by paying Rs 2,700 crore.

Metlife Inc is among the few multinationals which has not raised its stake to 49 percent even after the government permitted higher foreign holding insurance companies way back in 2015.

The New Delhi-based bank, which was hit hard by the Rs 14,000-crore Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi scam in February 2018, had earlier this month reported a net profit of Rs 247 crore for the December quarter. During the nine months of FY19, recoveries from bad loans stood at Rs 16,600 crore.

During the quarter, gross NPA declined to 16.33 percent, and net NPAs to 8.22 percent. The reporting quarter saw fresh slippages of Rs 3,324 crore.

The PNB counter closed 1.7 percent up at Rs 71.10 on the BSE against a 1.14 percent rally in the benchmark Sensex.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.