State-run Indian Oil Corporation has hired six banks including Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and ICICI Securities to handle a share sale of up to $4.3 billion, IFR reported on Wednesday.

Morgan Stanley, SBI Capital, and UBS were also hired to manage the share sale, IFR said.

The offer is expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2011, a source told Reuters last week, and joins a spate of share sales in state-run Indian firms that has seen a recent run of success.

Last month, Coal India's record $3.4 billion initial public offering was about 15 times subscribed while Power Grid Corp recently priced its $1.7 billion share sale at the top of its indicated range after the offer was nearly 15 times covered.

In the Indian Oil deal, the Indian government is selling a 10% stake, while the company will sell an equal number of new shares.

In a first of its kind for an Indian state company deal, the fuel retailer had fixed a floor fee of Rs 6 lakh ($13,245) for banks looking to get the mandate for bookrunning the follow-on share sale. The banks may also receive further incentive payments for securing subscription from retail investors.

The winning bids came in at the floor fee level, IFR reported and sources told Reuters.

In recent share sales in Indian state companies, banks have earned virtually no fees on the deals.

Besides gaining league table standing and brand recognition, banks justify doing cheap or loss-making deals in the hope they will lead to flow-based trading business in future and open doors for follow-on deals.

The government plans to raise $8.6 billion through stake sales in the fiscal year that ends in March 2011.


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