The Rs.5,000-crore stake sale by the government in NTPC saw demand for almost twice the shares on offer, led by a big-ticket application by insurance giant Life Insurance Corporation of India. The 330 million share offering, excluding the 20 per cent retail quota, received 596 ml bids, with nearly a fourth of them from insurance companies, mainly LIC. Most of the bids came in at around Rs.122.2 per share compared to the base price of `122 set by the government. Despite weak market conditions, NTPC´s offer for sale was fully subscribed within hours. The sale saw participation from all categories of investors, including foreign ones, said Disinvestment Secretary Neeraj Gupta. ¨In the current environment, this is a good response from the market,¨ he said. Gupta said foreign institutional investors placed bids worth Rs.925 crore, while mutual funds and banks applied for shares worth over Rs.440 crore each. Insurance companies were responsible for 133 per cent of the bids and LIC made an application worth around Rs.3,000 crore, he added.