Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holding has in its results filing said that it is “exploring all avenues under applicable law” to achieve majority ownership in the parent company of Go Digit General Insurance.
Fairfax filing follows the insurance regulator rejecting a proposal to convert compulsory convertible preferred shares held by FAL Corporation (part of Fairfax group) in Go Digit Infoworks into equity shares.
Fairfax currently owns 45. 3% of the holding company Go Digit Infoworks, which has 83% stake in the insurer.
Digit Insurance had mentioned the Irdai’s stance on the conversion of CCPS (compulsorily convertible preference shares) in its IPO offer document. According to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP), Irdai had rejected the conversion of CCPS into shares because it would result in Go Digit Infoworks (the holding company of Digit Insurance) becoming a subsidiary of the Fairfax group, which is not allowed by regulations.
In its filing, Fairfax said that the majority ownership of Digit would enable Fairfax to report a gain of approximately $375 million.
In August, Go Digit filed its draft DRHP for an IPO looking to raise around Rs 1,250 crore through a combination of fresh equity shares and an offer for sale of 11 crore shares. In September, Sebi said it kept the IPO abeyance without giving any reasons. Rules allow foreign insurers to hold up to 74% of an insurance company. However, there are guidelines which prevent a step-down subsidiary holding company from becoming a promoter.