Indian government gets bids for majority stake in IDBI bank

A man counts Indian currency notes inside a shop in Mumbai

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -The Indian government has received multiple bids for a majority stake in IDBI Bank, an official said in a tweet on Saturday, after the deadline for expressions of interest closed earlier in the day.

The government, which owns 45.48% of IDBI Bank, is looking to divest a 30.48% stake in the lender, alongside state-owned Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC), which will sell a 30.24% stake from its holding of 49.24% in the bank.

"The transaction will now move to the second stage," Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary of India's Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, said in a tweet.

Ahead of Saturday's deadline, India's market regulator this week allowed the government to reclassify its shareholding in IDBI Bank as "public" post sale, making it simpler for the new buyer to meet the minimum public shareholding norm.

India's finance ministry on Monday also extended an exemption to the new buyer of IDBI Bank that allows it to maintain a 25% minimum public shareholding in the lender.

The time limit to increase the public shareholding in the lender would be specified in due course, the government said.

A successful sale of IDBI Bank to a private buyer through a competitive bidding process would be first such deal in the Indian banking sector, setting the stage for more such sales in the coming years.

(Reporting by Nikunj Ohri, Editing by Mark Potter)