January 13, 2015 / 11:24 AM / 5 years ago

Staffing firms Ikya, TeamLease pursuing IPOs - sources

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian staffing firms Ikya Human Capital Solutions and TeamLease Services are looking to raise as much as $350 million in two separate stock market listings in the first half of 2015, sources told Reuters.

The listings could mark a recovery in Indian flotations. Despite a stock market rally in 2014, only six firms listed on the National Stock Exchange because of uncertainty about an economy suffering its longest slowdown since the 1980s.

But company executives and investors are becoming more confident about a recovery on the back of expected reforms by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which may include an overhaul of India’s strict limits on hiring and firing.

TeamLease, partly owned by ICICI Venture, has hired Credit Suisse, IDFC and ICICI Securities to manage an initial public offering (IPO) expected to raise between $125 million and $150 million, four sources involved in the process said.

Ikya, controlled by Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, is looking to raise $200 million but has yet to appoint banks, according to two sources.

Both companies are looking to complete the listings in the first half of 2015, said the sources, who declined to be identified because neither transaction has been made public.

All the companies or banks involved either declined to comment or did not reply to emails seeking comment.

Only six firms listed on India’s National Stock Exchange in 2014, raising 17.06 billion rupees ($274.5 million), while the broader Nifty surged 31.4 percent last year.

Bankers are hoping that will change as the government seeks to deliver on its reform pledges. Last month, it announced a series of executive decrees targeting the coal and insurance sectors, while also easing land acquisition rules.

Labour reforms are also expected to be a priority for the government, which in October announced a series of smaller measures to simplify employment rules.

India’s outdated labour laws strictly limit hiring and firing. Partly as a result, just 8 percent of Indian workers have formal jobs with any security and benefits, while the vast majority work in the informal sector.

“Equity issuances will increase in 2015 given the confidence in the Indian economy is rising,” said U.R. Bhat, managing director at Dalton Capital, a unit of British-based investment management firm Dalton Strategic Partnership LLP.

“HR (human resources) is a skills based industry. It’s a new theme and therefore would attract a scarcity premium.”

($1 = 62.1400 rupees)

Editing by Rafael Nam and David Clarke

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