atans1

TLCs in China: Groupthink or Mastermind at work?

In China, Property, Temasek on 08/02/2010 at 5:32 am

“The property investment arm of Morgan Stanley is in final talks to sell a Chinese apartment complex to a unit of Singapore’s Keppel Land … The overall value of the luxury apartment property is estimated at about 900 million yuan (S$186 million) and Morgan Stanley has owned it for about five years,” from a BT report last week.

So KepLand are super bullish on China, just like fellow-TLC CapitaLand.

And DBS is  ranked among the top three foreign banks, in terms of assets (2009 KPMG Research China Banking Industry), said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta. The bank expects to open 12 more branches over the next five years in China, he added. It currently has eight branches and seven sub-branches in eight cities across China.

One wonders if  groupthink is at work in the Temasek group. In addition to the investments of these two property companies, and DBS, Temasek are big in China.  They are big investors in several private equity funds and have big holdings in two Chinese banks: 4% of Bank of China and 6% of China Construction Bank.

Talk of a mega bet on China if all these are aggregated.

Or could there be a mastermind directing that investments be made in China? Temasek and the government have consistently denied that the government direct Temasek’s actions and that Temasek direct the actions of the companies where they have controlling interests.

Still the many S’poreans (I’m not one of them) who are  conspiracy theorists  or who practice the art of guessing what is going on behind the scenes — dietrologia in Italian, literally “behindologypoint” –would say, “They would say that, wouldn’t they?

And point to three pieces of “evidence” that there is a controlling brain that wants to bet big in China.

One is that in the late 1990s, when the government exhorted Singapore cos to go abroad, SingTel and DBS made very expensive acquisitions in Ozland and HK respectively.

Then there is MM Lee’s remark when asked why he intervened in an SIA dispute between its mgt and pilots. He is reported to have said,”We own it,” or words to that effect.

Finally, PM, SM, MM and other cabinet ministers are bullish on China.

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