MUMBAI (Reuters) -Digit Insurance, a company backed by Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa's Fairfax Group, has had a planned initial public offering (IPO) put on hold, a Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulatory document showed on Tuesday.
The IPO has been kept in "abeyance" and certain observations have been issued, the document on SEBI's website said without elaborating.
Reuters reported last month that Digit Insurance aimed to raise about $440 million through an IPO for its non-life business. Sources had said it was seeking a valuation of between $4.5 billion and $5 billion.
While SEBI gave no reasons for its decision, a source familiar with the watchdog's thinking said concerns had been raised by the regulator that privately held Digit issued shares to more than 200 individuals in the past financial year, which is not allowed under Indian laws and regulations.
Digit will need to review SEBI's concerns and resolve them at an appropriate forum, the source added.
A Digit spokesperson declined to comment and SEBI did not respond immediately to Reuters' queries.
Founded in 2017, Digit is trying to expand in general insurance, touting customer service benefits including easier claim settlements. Separately, it is moving into the life insurance market with its Go Digit Life venture.
The prospectus filed by the company last month showed the IPO will consist of new shares worth 12.5 billion Indian rupees ($158 million) while existing stakeholders will sell up to 109.4 million shares.
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in Delhi and Abhirup Roy and M. Sriram in MumbaiEditing by Kim Coghill and David Goodman)