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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Temasek’s Lim talks rubbish/ Olam helps African farmers

In Africa, Commodities, GIC, Political governance, Temasek on 03/04/2014 at 4:55 am

Temasek’s chairman Lim Boon Heng (the chap who cried when voting for casinos) was quoted by BT on 31 March as saying, “Coming from a little island nation with no natural resources except for some granite rocks, we are not a sovereign wealth fund in the normal sense of the term,” he said at a reception to mark the opening of Temasek’s new European office in London last Friday.

“Instead, we invest capital accumulated from generations of hard work and commitment by everyone in Temasek and the Temasek portfolio companies,” said Mr Lim in a speech at the Millennium Mayfair Hotel.

Well, I could reasonably say that he is talking rot*. It could be reasonably argued that part or most of money saved (via budget surpluses) could have been be more productively spent on making life better for S’poreans. It could have been spent on

– more hospital beds (http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/13/gan-says-hospital-beds-increased-by-30-really/),

– better public transport (Using back-of-the envelope calculations and figures in annual reports, since it was listed SMRT (over a decade ago) has paid S$562.79m in dividends to Temasek, and ComfortDelgro has paid the S’pore Labour Foundation (a statutory board affiliated to the NTUC) dividends of  S$150.46m since 2003 (Comfort and Delgro merged in 2003, and SLF had a stake in Comfort). The amount that ended up with the government was S$713.25m, with SMRT contributing 79%. But ComfortDelgro is likely be the main beneficiary of the S$1.1bn bus plan) (Italics added at 6.55am),

– low cost public housing (remember Mah saying that lowering the cost of land cheaper was raiding the reserves http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/what-are-in-our-reserves-a-revisit/. Link also describes how budget surpluses and the reserves are linked),

– welfare for the elderly and needy. and

– education.

The list for the productive use of govt revenue rather than to play roulette or baccarat (OK, OK invest) can go on and on.

 

Leading local economists (not juz a wannabe opposition politican) have made this point about better uses of govt money than squirreling it away for a rainy day that never comes**. They juz don’t get reported by our constructive, nation-building media.

But maybe the govt is changing its attitude and Temasek is leading the way?

Olam is into sustainable, ecofriendly agriculture.

Sor and farmers from 36 communities in the Juabeso/Bia district are part of a project to produce climate-smart cocoa, claimed to the the world’s first. The $1m, three-year pilot collaboration between Rainforest Alliance (RA), an environmental organization, and Olam International, agricultural company, offers financial incentive to the farmers.

In the wild, cocoa trees grow under taller trees, which protect them from the scorching sun. But in Ghana as in neighbouring Ivory Coast, which together account for more than half the global supply, cocoa is grown as a monoculture.

“I had a lot of trees on my farm, but I cut and burned them. I thought they brought diseases, were a nuisance and took the place of cocoa,” says the mother of four, who owns a 4-acre farm in Eteso.  “I didn’t know about the importance of shade trees until I joined the group.”

(http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/12/ghana)

Three cheers for Olam and Temasek for helping African farmers. Next stop S’pore SMEs?

Maybe Temasek is experimenting in Africa. Next an investment in a S’pore based co that helps S’poreans? Charity begins at home.

BTW, nice to see that GIC opened an office in Brazil. About time as Latin America is becoming unfashionable among the ang mohs.

GIC opened an office yesterday in Brazil, as it looks for more investment opportunities in Latin America.

The new office – its 10th globally – will focus on areas such as real estate, healthcare, financial and business services, and natural resources and infrastructure.

“Our presence in Brazil will enable our partners to engage early and interact closely with the GIC team, which is very beneficial for complex and sizeable investments,” said group chief investment officer Lim Chow Kiat.

“We believe our partners will gain from having access to GIC’s global network of business contacts and market insights. Although emerging markets remain volatile, we are confident of the long-term Latin America growth story.” (Yesterday’s BT).

These countries need capital, now that the ang mohs no longer like the area. China is investing there, BTW.

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*One of these days I’ll blog why ever since Devan Nai, Lim Chee Onn and Ong Teng Cheonf, we’ve had clowns as NTUC leaders. Lim may have been a failure as NTUC leader (Devan Nair fixed him), he he turned out to be a gd for Keppel, for which I’m grateful.)

**I hope thyose who think the world of Ong Teng Cheong realise that he wanted to look away even the returns from reserves away from the masses. Lee Hsien Loong and co got their way on using some of the returns on govt spending.

Olam: Hang on, buy for the ride?

In Africa, Commodities, Temasek on 18/03/2014 at 4:50 am

(Or “Temasek and Ho Ching haters getting more frus“)

Methinks that all those posters on TRE’s piece on Olam are banging their private parts real hard and crying in frustration http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/15/temasek-leads-consortium-to-buy-out-debt-ridden-olam/ . They missed making $ and are also upset that Temasek made gd (but peanutty ) money supporting Olam. Even those who pretend rationality while hating all things PAP ( s/o JBJ and Chris Balding?) can only sputter that if Olam is so gd, why buy now not earlier? May I suggest that they read FT’s Lex (behind paywall): squeezing the shorts leh; and Breakingviews (see below).

My tots on the stock: don’t tender the shares. Let’s go for the ride. At worse, kanna bot out if delisted. If buying lose only “peanuts” if kanna bot out. Remember my previous tots which TRE republished late last yr?

Last chance to buy Olam?

More bull points to add to this:

– When Olam released its quarterly results in early November, it showed it  had generated positive free cash flow – the first time in four years for a seasonally weak quarter.

Its executive director of finance and business development A Shekhar told analysts and reporters: “We’re very pleased that we’re striking the right notes on both objectives of profit growth as well as free cash-flow generation.”

– Ang mohs are still sceptical about the parts of the stock’s biz model.

– But they bulls on Africa and Olam got an edge there. Africa is now seen a destination mkt, not juz an exporter of commodities i.e. origination mkt:

The commodities houses are attracted to the African destination business for three reasons. First, demand is rising fast, in many cases at double-digit annual rates. Second, many African governments subsidise basic commodities such as petrol and wheat, in effect guaranteeing a return to the traders. Third, most African countries lack the infrastructure needed to import raw materials, from silos for storing wheat and rice to terminals for unloading petrol. The commodities houses say that, as they build this infrastructure, they will be able to secure a market and benefit from years of rising demand. (FT report on Africa dated 10 November 2013)

http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/temasek-tales-tlc-overpaid-olam-cheong-wont-read-this-in-tre-toc/

This is what the deal’s all about (other than squeezing the shorts’ balls, hard real hard):

The most immediate beneficiary of the buyout is Olam’s creditworthiness. Despite Temasek’s minority shareholding, the company has faced persistent queries about its debt load. That’s particularly damaging for a trading house like Olam, which relies on the confidence of its counterparties. In future, creditors will view Olam as an extension of its sovereign parent.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/03/14/temasek-buyout-throws-sovereign-weight-behind-olam/

My next piece of advice to those TRE readers who keep on cursing Temasek and its CEO but who end-up banging banging their balls in frustration: Go analyse SMRT.

Trmasek and Ho Ching haters should come up with new lines of attack. The world has moved on from the crisis of 2007-2009. The recovery of global markets means that post Temasek’s losses on ABC Learning, Barclays and Merrill Lynch/BOA, performance has been in line with the recovery in world equity markets. Two of its dogs are dogs no more:  Shin is 50% up from its purchase price (though how to exit is an issue), and go check the price of Chesapeake. And the glee over Olam has turned to tears as Olam powers ahead, giving Muddy Waters a bloody nose. Big playpen bully has met a bigger bully. True blue S’poreans and xenophobes should be cheering Ho Ching on, not cursing her. But then hatred of the PAP is often irrational.

Temasek tales: TLC overpaid?/ Olam: Cheong?/ Won’t read this in TRE, TOC?

In Africa, Airlines, Commodities, Temasek on 26/11/2013 at 5:54 am

Changi Airport Group: Winner’s curse?

The Aeroportos do Futuro group led by Odebrecht SA, and including Singapore airport operator Changi Airport Group, offered 19 billion reais (US$8.3 billion) and won the right to run Galeao airport in Rio de Janeiro, which will host tourists for the soccer World Cup next year and the 2016 Olympic Games, for 25 years. The consortium offered nearly four times the minimum bid for the right to operate Rio’s Galeão airport for the next 25 years.

We will only know the consortium overpaid if we know the next highest bid. Will let you know if this info is made public in Brazil )))

Last chance to buy Olam?

More bull points to add to this:

– When Olam released its quarterly results in early November, it showed it  had generated positive free cash flow – the first time in four years for a seasonally weak quarter.

Its executive director of finance and business development A Shekhar told analysts and reporters: “We’re very pleased that we’re striking the right notes on both objectives of profit growth as well as free cash-flow generation.”

– Ang mohs are still sceptical about the parts of the stock’s biz model.

– But they bulls on Africa and Olam got an edge there. Africa is now seen a destination mkt, not juz an exporter of commodities i.e. origination mkt:

The commodities houses are attracted to the African destination business for three reasons. First, demand is rising fast, in many cases at double-digit annual rates. Second, many African governments subsidise basic commodities such as petrol and wheat, in effect guaranteeing a return to the traders. Third, most African countries lack the infrastructure needed to import raw materials, from silos for storing wheat and rice to terminals for unloading petrol. The commodities houses say that, as they build this infrastructure, they will be able to secure a market and benefit from years of rising demand. (FT report on Africa dated 10 November 2013)

Even Chris Balding flies SIA

Would the Temasek model help improve the efficiency of China’s state-owned enterprises? Only one (Singapore Airlines) or possibly two (DBS bank) of Temasek’s GLCs have established themselves as international brands, according to critics such as Chris Balding of Peking University*. SingTel has made successful foreign acquisitions, but other GLCs have fared less well. STATS ChipPAC, a semiconductor firm, lost money in the second quarter of this year, as a result of the costs of closing a factory in Malaysia.

The few academic studies of Singapore’s GLCs are more encouraging, however. A 2004 article by Carlos Ramirez of George Mason University and Ling Hui Tan of the IMF showed that the country’s GLCs enjoyed a higher market value, relative to the book value of their assets, than comparable private firms. They also generated a higher return on assets, on average.

In judging the performance of Temasek’s GLCs, the counterfactual is important. They may not be as obviously successful as private titans from the region such as Samsung or LG. But they are not nearly as bad as most SOEs, including China’s. The enthusiasm for reform of SOEs in China reflects their deteriorating returns and accumulating debt. According to M.K. Tang of Goldman Sachs, their return on assets was 6.5 percentage points below that of other Chinese firms in 2012 and their shares trade at a growing discount. Even Mr Balding, meanwhile, is happy to fly Singapore Airlines.

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21590562-chinas-rulers-look-singapore-tips-portfolio-management-soe-glc

*Cock Balding forgets Keppel and SembCorp in rigbuilding. More on these two cos later this week.

Africa’s next megacity wants to be like S’pore

In Africa, Humour, Political governance on 05/08/2012 at 6:15 am

Eat yr hearts out, and bang yr balls in frustration, KennethJ, EJay, Goh Meng Seng and other S’porean critics who hate all things PAP even when they work and are to the benefit of S’poreans: an African wants to model his hometown on S’pore (the S’pore before Raymond Lim and Mah Bow Tan messed up throughly its infrastructure; and the S’pore before the PAP let in the FTs in by the cattle truck load to overrun the likes of SGX, DBS, SMRT, and Geylang.)

Nimrod Mushi is a lecturer at Ardhi university, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and is one of the experts commissioned by the government to produce a “master plan” to overhaul the city’s infrastructure. Singapore is his role model, and he favours big projects to clear slums and build bridges, roads and out-of-town settlements.

“When we went to Singapore, we could see their satellite towns, their ring-roads, their skyscrapers and their decentralised services, and it’s working very nicely there,” he says.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18655647

HSBC’s view of emerging mkts

In Africa, China, Economy, Emerging markets on 09/11/2010 at 6:04 am

Mkts are flying what with Aug- Oct passing without a mkt collapse and the Fed pumping money into the system. Time to join the party. I’ve sat on the sidelines so far this yr, so I’ll sit on my hands a bit longer. Must admit its hard not to want to do something.

The CEO of HSBC, said late last week, there were likely to be “some bumps in the road ahead” in developing countries, especially in China. Reminder: HSBC generates most of its earnings growth in Asia.

“Our latest data from emerging markets points to a slowdown in the rate of recovery,” he said in a statement. But the bank added that it still expected growth in the region to outpace that of the developed world for the foreseeable future.

He gave a positive outlook for the rest of the year, saying that “the global economy is in better shape than many expected a year ago.” But that “while fears of a double dip in the West may be overplayed, the passage from downturn to upturn is clearly taking longer than previous cycles.”

HSBC said pretax profit in the third quarter was “well ahead” of the period a year earlier, as reserves for bad loans reached its lowest quarterly level since early 2007. Its lending business in the United States accounted for the biggest share of improvements. Business in October was “in line with third-quarter trends,” HSBC said. HSBC does not give detailed earnings figures on a quarterly basis.

The investment banking unit of HSBC also reported a drop in trading. HSBC said performance of the business was “robust although trading activity was lower.”

Africa: How big is it geographically?

In Africa on 20/10/2010 at 5:16 am

Seems, US and China can fit into it with room to spare.

No wonder the Chinese are flocking there http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/the-chinese-see-value-in-africa/

The Chinese see value in Africa

In Africa, China on 19/10/2010 at 5:19 am

The Chinese (people and state-owned enterprises (SOEs)) are flocking to Angola in darkest Africa. The latter are there for the natural resources that China needs, the former because they see the personal opportunities that they see the SOEs drive into China will bring them. Smart people, the Chinese.

So shouldn’t S’porean entrepreneurs and companies (TLCs, GLCs, and SWFs included) head for Africa? Rather than head for China, or Asia as the govmin keeps encouraging us to do? True Asia esp China waz the place to do in the 80s and 90s and early noughties, but if the Jews of Asia are moving on out of their country into Africa, shouldn’t we?

And admiral Cheng Ho was there in the 15th century.

Are our ministers on auto-pilot mode, or is there something they dislike abt Africans?

BTW when I was a student in London in the late 1970s, I got a lot of stick from African students. They tot one LKY was a racist. I argued that he was simply stating facts. This stance cost me dear: I wasn’t invited to partake of raw stakes of lion, zebra or antelope meat. I love steak tartar.

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