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80% of LIC’s equity portfolio deep in the red; a high-flying PSU & a few others play saviour

LIC held more than 350 companies in its portfolio as of June 2019.

, ETMarkets.com|
Last Updated: Sep 04, 2019, 10.36 AM IST
The top gainer in the portfolio is PSU shipbuilding firm Garden Reach Shipbuilding & Engineers.
India’s biggest institutional investor Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)’s equity portfolio has been bleeding profusely in the ongoing selloff in domestic stocks.

As much as 80 per cent stocks in the portfolio have slipped into the red, with only a handful of companies from sectors like shipbuilding, footwear, pharma, IT, cement and chemicals offering some cushion on the downside.

The top gainer in the portfolio is PSU shipbuilding firm Garden Reach Shipbuilding & Engineers, whose shares have delivered 46 per cent return so far, rising from Rs 91.40 on January 1 to Rs 133.30 on August 30.

BSE Sensex is up 0.85 per cent year to date, while BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices are down 14 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, in the same period.

Garden Reach reported 223 per cent year-on-year rise in net profit at Rs 25.30 crore for June quarter. That, even as net sales of the company declined 12 per cent YoY to Rs 168 crore.

The company primarily caters to shipbuilding requirements of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. The order book of the PSU stood at Rs 27,804 crore as of July 1, 2019.

Well-known investor Ramesh Damani and mutual fund houses HDFC AMC and Reliance Mutual Fund held stakes in the company as of June 30.

HDFC Mutual Fund had a 6.56 per cent stake, while Reliance Capital Trustee and Reliance Smallcap Fund held 4.11 per cent and 1.87 per cent.

Other performers in the LIC portfolio include Bata India (up 37 per cent), Procter & Gamble Health (up 30 per cent), Heidelberg Cement (up 29 per cent) and Gujarat State Petronet (up 25 per cent).

Brokerage firm ICICIdirect earlier in August gave a ‘buy’ rating to Bata India with a price target of Rs 1,585. The scrip traded at Rs 1,539 on September 3.

Pidilite Industries (up 25 per cent), Indraprastha Gas (up 24 per cent), Rajesh Exports (up 23 per cent), Infosys (up 23 per cent) and Zydus Wellness (up 21 per cent) also figured on the list of top 10 players in the portfolio and have delivered over 20 per cent return so far in 2019.

Emkay Global Financial Services has a ‘sell’ rating on Pidilite Industries, which hit a 52-week high of Rs 1,399.80 on August 27. The brokerage has a price target of Rs 1,150. “Given the underperformance in volume growth (2 per cent in Q4FY19 and 6 per cent in Q1FY20), we believe Pidilite’s current valuation premium to its peers looks unjustified,” the brokerage said in a report.

LIC held more than 350 companies in its portfolio as of June 2019. Out of them, only 290 companies it has been holding since December, 2018, were considered for this analysis.

Among top laggards in the portfolio, Cox & Kings is down 97 per cent, Reliance Communications 94 per cent, Reliance Naval 93 per cent, Reliance Infrastructure 88 per cent, Ballarpur Industries 87 per cent, Reliance Home Finance 86 per cent and Jet Airways 86 per cent.
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