Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Temasek Holdings: Once Bitten Not Shy!

Saw this article on Temasek. Temasek to invest in Western banks 'if opportunity comes'

  • SINGAPORE: Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings said yesterday it had not been put off investing in Western financial institutions despite suffering massive losses from the global financial crisis.

    It would invest in such banks "if the opportunity comes and it looks attractive, yes," Ho Ching, chief executive of the state-linked firm, said, adding that the fund was also interested in resources as an asset class and saw opportunities in Asian infrastructure.

    She, however, ruled out investing in overseas land for agriculture, as firms linked to South Korea and Middle Eastern firms have done in recent years.

    Ho was speaking at the launch yesterday of Temasek's updated charter that described the fund as an investment firm managed on commercial principles, dropping a reference to its role to improve the city-state's economic base.

    Temasek suffered massive losses after pumping billions into Western financial companies that were in need of a capital injection as the economic crisis unfolded.

    It took a stake in Wall Street icon Merrill Lynch but when the US firm was bought by Bank of America, Temsek divested its interest. It also bought into British lender Barclays but later also offloaded that stake.

    It is estimated Temasek lost more than US$5.4 billion (US$1 = RM3.51) from the sale of its holdings in the two banks, Dow Jones Newswires quoted sources as saying.

    Temasek made its divestments just before the global markets made a recovery at the start of the year.

    Ho, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said last month that by the end of March Temasek's portfolio had lost more than S$40 billion (S$1 = RM2.44) compared with a year ago.

    Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) are the city-state's main investment vehicles.

    GIC also invested massively in US banking giant Citigroup and Swiss bank UBS as the global financial crisis unfolded.

    Temasek downplayed its links to government policy or strategic interests in its revised charter.

    "Temasek felt the need to emphasise its independence, or perhaps it is preparing to spin itself off as a truly independent unit... countries are resistant to investments by politically-linked entities," said David Cohen, director of Asian economic forecasting at Action Economics here.

    Temasek, which has published annual reports since 2004, now describes itself as an investment firm creating long-term value for its shareholder, after being set up in 1974 to hold investments in state firms.

    The updated charter did not include the notes accompanying the first 2002 version stating the government - through Temasek - needed to own and control firms deemed critical to the city-state's security, economic well-being or public policy.

    "There are very few of these companies left in our stable," said Ho. "We are an investor that is prepared to invest and divest." - Agencies

Waaaa..... isn't this such bold talk?

I wonder if she remembers some of these... One Of The Worst Investments In This Period!

Or how about Barclays: A Tale Of Two Investors - Temasek Holdings and Sheikh Mansour?

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