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Posts Tagged ‘Temasek’

Our SWFs owned four out the10 biggest investment flops of the last 10 yrs

In Financial competency, GIC, Temasek on 26/02/2012 at 6:35 am

(Or “GIC may have bot another dog”

They owned significant stakes of the four (BoA, Citigroup, UBS and Barclays) of the 10 biggest dogs that had fleas on their fleas between 2002 and 2012. To be fair, the big stakes were bought in late 2007 or early 2008. GIC and Temasek each has two dogs to their shame. GIC still owns stakes in UBS and Citigroup. Temasek cut its losses at the nadir of the financial crisis of 2007-2009, in early 2009, allowing hedgies and Arabs to make money on BoA and Barclays.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/02/daily-chart-8

(Remember how the constructive, nation-building local media were trumpeting the purchases as indication that our SWFs were “the greatest”. Well they were “the greatest”: the greatest mugs. Funny our media never told us that.)

Hope GIC’s big stakes in Glencore and Bunge (both commodities traders, the former in metals, the latter in agricultural products) don’t go the way of UBS and Citigroup (big banks).

GIC now has over 5% of Bunge.

Via shares and convertible bonds that convert into Glencore shares, it also has a significant stake in Glencore. GIC has been doing some financial engineering to reduce its cost of Glencore shares, which I assume it bot at the IPO. The price has fallen 18% since then. As to its convertible bonds, it is getting a good interest rate of 5% but the equity value of the bond is 17% down, I calculated.

GIC recently raised its stake in Xstrata by 20%  and trimmed its holding in Glencore International after the companies said they planned to combine. GIC has increased its Xstrata stake to 29.05 million shares from 24.1 million shares since Feb 8, the day after Glencore offered to acquire the shares in Xstrata it doesn’t already own for US$37.6 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. GIC cut its Glencore stake by 21% t to 33.2 million shares.

Thai co outbids Shell

In Energy, Temasek on 25/02/2012 at 10:36 am

Thai oil and gas company PTT Exploration and Production said on Friday that it had submitted a rival US$1.7 billion bid for energy exploration Cove Energy, trumping a previous offer from Royal Dutch Shell by 12.8%. PTT is state-controlled and is the second largest listco on the Thai stock exchange. It is capitalised at slightly more than US$19bn.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/ptt-makes-rival-bid-for-cove-energy/?nl=business&emc=dlbkpma21

Remember Chips Goodyear? He was going to be Temasek’s CEO before he quit Temasek’s board. Seems he wanted Temasek to make these kind of big mining or energy bids. Seems this was too exciting for Temasek or its shareholder. 

Temasek’s StanChart bonds: No losers?

In Banks, Temasek on 24/10/2011 at 6:59 am

Despite the following and other rants, ‘Temasek’s S$650m issue of bonds exchangeable into StanChart shares was oversubscribed.”The order was $1.25 bn,” it was reported. I was not surprised.

Singapore Notes ranted, Stanchart shares are currently trading at £13.73 (yesterday’s quote); the highest level reached during last year was £19.75. The British £ has also taken a pounding, diving from S$2.90 to S$2 yesterday, a stomach churning plunge of 30%. Yahoo! Finance indicates today’s range will be £1.9907 – £1.9937.

So what fool (as in “fool me, hah?’) would bet that the Stanchart share price would go up 27% in 3 years’ time? That’s a tantalising return of 9% per annum, assuming the pound-euro correlation doesn’t get any worse. Reuters is reporting a sterling drop, as latest UK data adds to the gloomy outlook.

Juz look at the volatility of the share price. In the last 12 months, it has been up to £19.75. More than 27% from current prices. And in November 2008 it was trading around £8. Investors buying the bonds are betting that StanChart’s share price recovers within three years. Not an unreasonable bet, given the volatility of StanChart’s (and other banks’) share price in recent years. Interesting chart.

At worse, they lose their funding costs (if they borrow money to buy the bond) or opportunity costs (if they invest in cash or bonds) for three years. Their upside is 27%++.

To quote Reuters Breakviews, One part would be a zero-yield bond, with a face value of S$36. Assume lenders to triple-A rated Temasek normally demand a 1.8 per cent annual return, and the bond is worth around S$34.50 today.

The other part is a call option on Stanchart shares.

Plug the lender’s current price, its forecast 3.5 per cent dividend yield, and the implied volatility of Stanchart’s stock into an options calculator, and it looks to be worth S$4.50.

Put together, the two bits of paper have a total value of S$39 – some 8 per cent more than investors paid. Taz why the issue was oversubscribed.

Unlike me, the writer thinks it ain’t such a gd deal, But it’s probably not such a sweet deal. The value of the call option is inflated because Stanchart’s shares are twice as volatile as they were before the summer.

If the shares return to their steadier state, the option is worth closer to S$1, leaving the value of the whole package a little below the sticker price. I think volatility will persist.

‘The writer goes on to talk about the deal’s advantages for Temasek, For Temasek, there are obvious attractions. Even if all the bonds are exchanged for shares, it will retain a 17 per cent stake in Stanchart.

And if the shares don’t rise much, the fund will have borrowed S$650 million interest free.

But for all that, the savings are small. Say Temasek had simply borrowed directly from the bond markets. Over three years, its total interest bill would be less than S$40 million.

Moreover, the bond issue triggered a mini-rout in Stanchart shares, leaving Temasek with a paper loss on its remaining stake 10 times the size of the interest costs it saved.

Other than demonstrating its financial prowess, Temasek doesn’t have much to show for its wizardry. True but given the jitteriness of the markets, the shares would have fallen for other reasons. Banks are not the flavour of the month.

Temasek’s StanChart Bond Issue

In Banks, Temasek on 19/10/2011 at 2:45 pm

I’m surprised that a blogger whom I respect could get it so wrong with his analysis of Temasek’s stake in StanChart and the share price that investors can buy into StanChart via Temasek’s latest bond issue.

Singapore Notes reports, “The zero coupon bonds which mature in 2014 can be exchanged for Stanchart shares at £36.29 per share during a 3 year holding period, a 27% premium over Monday’s price of £14.29 on the London Stock Exchange.” A 27% premium to £14.29 works out to £18.15. not £36.29.

As to the value of Temasek’s stake in S$, he used as his starting point, “the purchase of a 11.5 % stake from Khoo Teck Puat’s estate in 2006. Then Stanchart shares were trading at £15.24, when the exchange rate was S$2.90 to £1.”

Since then there have been two massive and deeply discounted rights issues. The one in November 2008 was done at  £3.90, a 48.7% discount to the last done share price before the rights issue announcement. The rights ratio was 30 new shares for 91 existing shares. In October 2010, it called for a 1 for 8 rights issue priced at £12.80, a 32% discount to the last done share price before the rights issue announcement.

Temasek: Where things can go wrong.

In China, Temasek on 19/10/2011 at 6:44 am

Credit Suisse analyst Sanjay Jain said in a report last week that he thinks that up to 12%  of all of China’s outstanding loans may go bad and non-performing loans may likely account for all of the banks’ equity. Current NPL ratios hover at around 1% or the top Chinese banks.

Ops a daisy. As Temasek has major (and so far very profitable) stakes in two of China’s top four bank, Bank of China (4%) and Construction Bank of China (7%), predictions such as this (and Credit Suisse is not alone, just the latest and most pessimistic) should worry S’poreans.

As Temasek got the initial substantial stakes at bargain prices (courtesy of the Chinese government), selling part or all these stakes requires Chinese approval. At a time when the Chinese government is supporting the shares of the major four banks, such approval is unlikely.

Not another debacle like Shin, ABC Learning, Merrill Lynch or Barclays in the making?

A TLC where losing $1m is “peanuts”

In Corporate governance, Temasek on 20/09/2011 at 7:19 am

This is the impression I get after reading in the nation building, constructive ST that the new CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) abruptly cancelled the Night Safari’s Halloween Horrors event, despite the WRS having spent close to $1m on organising this popular annual event. This means that close to $1m will have to be written-off, as there will be no revenues from this popular event.

It’s not as though the WRS (owned 80% by Temasek and 20% by the S’pore Tourism Board) is rolling in money. I understand that this is one flea-ridden animal that cannot be sold because it is in constant need of financial injections. So she must have consulted and gotten her board of directors’ approval, before taking a million dollar hit.

So the board too must think that $1m is “peanuts”. Not their money leh. It is our money. We own Temask and the tourim board.

But let’s to fair to the CEO. Maybe she had a revelation from her god that god would provide, and that she convinced her board that her god was stronger than the devil. But what if she goofed? She has form in goofing.

The last thing newly elected president, Dr Tony Tan, needed after a bruising election campaign was for for his comments on the need to have more famiy bonding activities to be linked to the CEO’s cancellation of a popular event. “He kill-joy or something worse?”, I could hear the bloggers thinking. after her attempt at linkage. He was not amused and she had to apologise for her most unfair attempt to link his comments to her action.

Finally, does the devil have friends? 

She is getting a terrible press from the ST. Are there devil-worshippers among the reporters and editors of the ST? Remember they have form when it comes to attacking Christians, the devil’s arch-enemies. A few years ago, DPM Wong Kum Seng pointed out that the ST’s coverage of the AWARE fight was biased against the Christian members who opposed the old guard who they accused of promoting anal sex and homosexuality in schools. Note that the government withdrew AWARE’s status as a provider of sex education services to schools after the allegations were made.

Temasek the hedge fund?

In Banks, China, Temasek on 01/09/2011 at 8:29 am

A consortium that includes Temasek and its wholly owned hedge fund Seatown Holdings has acquired a 5% stake in China Construction Bank it was reported on 30 August 2011

It had unloaded a portion of its own stake in the Chinese lender about a month ago, when, by my calculations, the price of CCB shares was  abt 10% higher. And given that it bought the latest batch of shares at a discount, Temask could have made 20% on the sale and repurchase.

Gd trade.

Description of trades

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/08/30/business/business-us-bankofamerica-ccb.html?nl=business&emc=dlbka32

China: Not immune to Western slowdown?

In China, Economy on 24/08/2011 at 8:31 am

China, the world’s biggest exporter and second biggest economy, is still booming. Its GDP is expanding at about 9% a year and since the 2008 financial crisis, China has helped keep the global economyfrom falling in a recession. But, as the BBC’s  Damian Grammaticas reports, China may not be immune if there is a new slowdown in the US and Europe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14578083

S’poreans have two reasons to be interest in the issue. We depend on global growth and Temasek itself, TLCs, other GLCs (like Ascendas) and GIC have big bets on China.

Why the PM should ask Tony Tan to return to active duty

In GIC, Political governance on 07/08/2011 at 9:19 am

The finance minister has come out to say that the world economy will undergo a rough period three or four years.

Tony Tan helmed GIC through a very rough period recently and all indications are that GIC had a good crisis compared to Temasek. An example: Temask lost billions cutting losses within 15 months on its so-called 30-yr investments, Merrill Lynch/ BoA and Barclays. True GIC has a 50%ish book loss on UBS but it made money on Citi, its 30-yr investments. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/gic-not-reported-in-st-cna-or-today/

If Tony Tan becomes president, he is only the security guard of the the reserves, True he can advise the PM, but the PM and S’pore will lack Tony Tan’s executive skills in a financial crisis.

So the PM should tell Tony Tan, “No more of this presidential rubbish, especially as your can’t communicate with “lesser mortals” to save their lives. Return to active duty for the sake of S’pore.”

And if TKL becomes president, so what? The PM can always get the doctors to certify him medically unfit to serve as president. They can use this very recent example

After the law minister made this statement, “The president cannot reject advice given by the Cabinet And he cannot engage in public debate with the government,”, TKL issued a statement implicitly agreeing with the minister. http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2011/08/voice-of-people-and-constitution.html

Less than 12 hours later (albeit overnight), he came out to disagree with the minister saying, “I do not agree with his view that  the President cannot speak about anything else without the approval of the Government. I find the Law Minister’s interpretation to be too narrow. It seemed to give the President less freedom of speech than an ordinary citizen of Singapore.” http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2011/08/statement-from-tan-kin-lian-can.html

Shouldn’t he have said this in the first place?

And as to Tan Cheng Bock, if he was good enough for one Lee Kuan Yew to ask him to serve as a PAP MP when being asked to serve as a PAP MP was seen by the public as an honour unlike today (when the likes of  Kate Spade Tin, Foo, Wee Kiak and Puthu can become PAP MPs) , and for the government of the day (which the PM was a part) to ask him to head a feedback unit, waz the problem of having him as a security guard president?

And as the law minister said, the PM can ignore his advice. Say if and when he asks the PM to think of the people when making policy decisions.

 

Temasek: 4 senior departures in 9 mths

In Temasek on 24/07/2011 at 7:03 am

When there is an average of one senior departure every 2.25 months in a listed company anywhere in the world,  the board of directors and CEO are under a lot of pressure to explain the departures. Shareholders, investors and the media want to know if there is something amatter with the company, how serious is it, and what are then plans to fix the problem.

But when the company is Temasek (the SWF that invests our money), the board and CEO face no such pressure, it seems.

The CEO of Fullerton Fund Management, fully owned by Temasek, resigned in late October last year. His acting successor left in February this year. “Hsieh Fu Hua, a member of Fullerton’s board of directors and executive director and president at Temasek Holdings, will work closely with Fullerton’s chief investment officer and chief operating officer to guide the firm until a new CEO is appointed,” it was announced. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/07/fullerton-ceo-idUSL3E7D702720110207

He is still there it seems. FYI, there are rumours that this unit which manages the money of foreigners suffered badly during the 2007/2008 financial crisis, and the recovery has not helped it much.

This week, two other units had leadership changes.

Charles Ong and Nasser Ahmad quit as co-CEOs of Seatown, the “hedge fund” of Temasek. But Ong is not leaving the Temasek group. Ahmad is reported as leaving to return to the private sector. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/reshuffling-the-chairs-aboardtemaseks-hedge-fund/

Then Francis Rozario resigned as CEO of Temasek’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, the unit that invests in Asian banks. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/temasek-loses-74-of-pakistani-investment/

Again like in the case of Fullerton Fund Mgt, their replacements are from the parent company.

Given the frequency of the changes, surely S’poreans should be told if these changes are a statistical fluke (like several 100-yr or 50-yr floods in the space of 12 mths), or if there is something amiss at the manager of our money?

Fat chance. Pigs will fly or Tan See Jay will get his COE or TKL will get elected as president before any explanation is given.

Temasek loses 74% of Pakistani investment

In Temasek on 20/07/2011 at 5:22 pm

“According to estimates by Pakistan’s Invisor Securities, Temasek has invested about US$540 million (S$657 million) in NIB and is sitting on a paper loss of about US$400 million.”

This quote appeared as the last sentence of a Reuters article carried by our nation building, constructive Today. The article was abt Francis Rozario resigning as CEO of Temasek’s Fullerton unit, the unit that invests in Asian banks.

Coming back to the loss, this means NIB is worth only US$140m, and that Temasek has an unrealised loss of 74%.

Update at 6.15pm on 20th July 2011: ST has the same story. And the above quote too appeared as the last sentence. Some people were careless in editing the story for us “daft” S’poreans. Interestingly, BT doesn’t report the resignation.

Reshuffling the chairs aboard Temasek’s “hedge fund”

In Temasek on 19/07/2011 at 7:08 am

Charles Ong and Nasser Ahmad are quitting as co-CEOs of Seatown, the “hedge fund” of Temasek reports Bloomberg.

Mr. Ong, who is also senior managing director of special projects at Temasek, will remain at Temasek. Mr. Ahmad will be returning to fund management.

For the record, Charles Ong was the point man on the Shin Deal that lost billions.

Related postings

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/temasek-the-significance-of-seatown/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/better-at-destabilising-than-investing/

Temasek: Confused

In Temasek on 13/07/2011 at 6:31 am

One of the criticisms that has been made of Temasek is that it does not publicly show the breakdown in performance between its legacy assets (acquired before 31 March 2002) and its post-March 2002 assts when it became a very active investor.  Because Ho Ching became CEO in 2002, this would also show how well Temasek did with her in charge.  Waz her performance like? Do the Merrill Lynchs, Barclays, Shins and ABCs outweigh the StanCharts and Chinese banks; or vice versa?

Well we now have an idea. In its latest annual report, Temasek said, “Investments made since 2002, when we stepped up our exposure in Asia, delivered annualised returns of almost 21% to Temasek”, while investments made before March 2002 delivered annualised returns of 11% over the last nine years.

It also showed that of the S$193bn in portfolio assets as at 31 March 2011, S$100m were post March 2002, while only US$93m were legacy assets. http://www.temasekreview.com.sg/investments/inv_framework.html

And in a presentation slide, it said that S$100 in these new assets in 2002 would be worth S$550 today while S$100 in legacy assets would be worth S$270.

(All these also appeared in newspaper ads.)

The numbers look gd.

Problem is that I have conceptual issues linking  this information with the information given on other pages of the report (which indicate, as ST reported, that its recent performance is OK but nothing great), and the presentation. I also have questions on the definitions of certain terms used and the methodolgy used. As I doubt Temasek would entertain questions from me, I will remain confused.

Another problem I have is that our constructive, nation building MSM did not declare Ho Ching an investment genius. On the face of it, 21% annualised returns over nine years  is to be praised, not kept quiet about. At a time when her hubby is having to deal with the anger of many voters over govmin policies and the incompetent arrogance within the PAP, surely playing up the role of Ho Ching is sumething our media should be doing. At least he has an investment genius as his Mrs.

Reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes mystery that he solved by asking the question, “Why didn’t the dog bark?” Why I don’t know.

Experts differ on prospects for China; but we got big bets on China

In China, Temasek on 20/06/2011 at 9:36 am

Some see serious trouble ahead, some see the troubles as to be expected in a rapidly expanding economy, and are notb that serious. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13802453

And do remember Temasek has big bets on China.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/tlcs-in-china-groupthink-or-mastermind-at-work/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/sporeans-temasek-may-have-a-problem/

So does GIC.

Spending S$4.9bn justification for S$470bn +++ reserves?

In Political economy, Political governance on 24/05/2011 at 9:37 am

President S R Nathan said recently that the recent recession, in which the government for the first time sought his office’s approval to draw on reserves, has validated the need for Singapore to have strong national reserves.

He must be talking of the S$4.9bn that was used to fund the government budget in 2009 and which has since been returned.

Juz taking into account the monies managed by GIC, and Temasek’s funds,  our reserves then were at least S$470.3bn. This means that only 1% were used to fund the recession budget.

Do we need such massive reserves when we draw-down so little, given that the reserves are not the result of nature’s bounty but of the people’s savings.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/how-we-fund-our-swfs/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/property-sales-also-fund-our-swfs/

Apple has more cash than GIC & Temask combined

In GIC, Temasek on 27/04/2011 at 9:28 am

According to Asymco: “If Apple had no revenues, the current cash would sustain operations (SG&A and R&D) for over 7 years or until the middle of 2018.”

“The funds are big enough to place Apple’s CFO office in the top 100 largest fund managers in the world and larger than any hedge fund manager.” More than Temasek and GIC combined, FYI.

What are in our reserves? A revisit

In Political governance on 17/04/2011 at 11:27 am

As minister Mah has again talked rubbish, this time that cheaper HDB flats will raid our reserves, I tot I should paint a mental picture of how our reserves, CPF and SWFs are linked, and in the process show that he is talking rubbish when he talks of our reserves being raided, if HDB flats’ selling prices are lowered.

Visualise a big glass tank. Above it are three pipes, below it is one pipe. When the taps are open, water flows in from the pipes on top and water flows out from the pipe below.

The water flowing from the pipes at the top represent the income that goes into the Consolidated Fund (tank). From one pipe would flow income from all the taxes (income tax, VAT, property etc), service charges and fines levied. From another another pipe would flow the permitted returns from our reserves. From the final pipe would flow the money from government borrowings*. The money from the special CPF bonds would be part of the flow from this pipe. The water flowing out from the pipe below represents government spending.

There is no water in the tank when the outflow (expenditure) exceeds the inflow.

But there will be water in the tank if the inflow exceeds the outflow.

Now imagine a ballon hovering just above the water. It has a hose syphoning out water from the tank. The ballon is the reserves taking surplus $ from the Consolidated Account. The ballon has another hose sucking air into the ballon: this represents the proceeds of “sale of state land”. This shows that minister Mah is wrong in his assertion that cheaper HDB flats raid the reserves. All that happens is that less goes into the reserves. Is this a bad thing. I doubt it as we got lots of money in our reserves, Temasek’s 2009 losses notwithstanding. (Our SWFs managing only a part of our reserves have 179.5% more in assets than S’pore’s 2009 estimated GDP. I calculated this in November 2010.)

The ballon keeps growing while another hose pumps some of the water into the reserves pipe which flows into the tank.

And where is GIC and Temasek? They and the central bank manage what is in the ballon.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/how-we-fund-our-swfs/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/property-sales-also-fund-our-swfs/

—–

*Accounting for loans:

When any government or company or person borrows, the money borrowed becomes the income of the  borrower. So when the government borrows money from the CPF by using the special bonds, the money borrowed becomes part of government income.

The interest payments on the special CPF bonds and other borrowings are part of government expenditure.

Citi’s a US bank in name only

In Banks, Emerging markets, GIC, Temasek on 19/03/2011 at 6:04 am

More than 50% of its profits come from emerging markets juz when emerging markets are losing their attractiveness to global investors.

Given Cit’s record of losing serious money by jumping into markets late (think sub-prime, and lending to finance LBOs, US property (in the 80s) and Latin America (in the 80s too), S,poreans should be concerned., given GIC’s 5%(?) odd stake in Citi,

Article

The Fed notified financial institutions that passed a second round of stress tests that they can begin returning money to their shareholders, The results are confidential but already some US banks are saying they will raise dividends this year. Among them are Citi rivals JPMorgan and Wells Fargo. Citi says that only in 2012, will it consider raising its dividends, It got a lousy rating?

And I now know why the executive director of GIC is looking to increase US exposure. Read the rest of this entry »

Lesson for our SWFs

In Corporate governance, GIC, Temasek on 17/02/2011 at 9:18 am

I’ve ranted at how Temasek and GIC allowed investment banks to short change them (and us) in two IPOs:  the share prices traded way above IPO price on listing,

Well it’s nice to see that the Indonesians screwed the investment banks over the Garuda IPO, the share price falling 20% below IPO price, with the underwriters stuck with abt half of the shares,

Now I’m not saying that our SWFs should play that rough with the investment banks — there will be adverse consequences for Garuda when it tries to raise more money and the Indonesian authorities when they try to sell other companies — but our SWFs should try to keep the premiums to around 5%. It’s hard, but they shld try.

China: What we don’t hear from our MSM

In China, Economy, GIC, Temasek on 21/01/2011 at 5:16 am

In their new book, “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise” (John Wiley & Sons), Carl E. Walter and Fraser J.T. Howie paint a troubling portrait of China’s economy and its financial system. Despite the nation’s mind-boggling growth and images of gleaming skyscrapers and luxury cars, the authors say China’s growth model is flawed and fragile, and they warn about substantial risks accumulating in its banking system.

Q&A

Backgrounder: S’pore Inc has big bets on China

Keep calm, carry on — No need to rant against Temasek

In Indonesia, Temasek, Uncategorized on 23/12/2010 at 5:27 am

Or write stories defending it.

This story, abt the possibility of the Indon authorities seizing Temasek’s assets there, is nothing to get excited about. Someone wants some money. Remember its Money time!

This blogger is bullish on Indonesian. But he has been around long enough to know that Indonesia’s ideas of good governance (public or private) is not benchmarked to global standards. It is uniquely Javanese.

A few years back, a foreign investor was involved in a dispute with the management of a listco. An EGM was called, and the investor’s resolution won the support of the majority of shareholders in a poll vetted by a major international accounting firm.

The next day, the investor read in the papers that he had lost, and management had won, the vote. When he sought an explanation, he was told, “The counters made a mistake”.

A senior US foreign service officer who was based in Indonesia once told me that Indonesian officials had demanded a bribe from him to process an application even though they knew he was a member of the US embassy there. The embassy raised the issue and were told, “Err misunderstanding brudder”. Still, by the time he left for another posting a few years later, his application was being processed.

So now that Temasek has asked the court if a judgement has been issued, sumeone will say, “You mean you never got it? We posted it months ago. We have sent another copy in the mail.”

BTW, S$13m is “peanuts” as Mrs SM could have put it, but didn’t.

GLP’s non-action:Implications for SGX’s bid for ASX & S’pore Inc

In Corporate governance, GIC, Logistics, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 16/12/2010 at 5:22 am

Global Logistics Properties has replied to a hack’s rant on why it should have disclosed GLP’s non-compete agreement with ProLogis in China and Japan in its prospectus. The GIC-linked company, which listed on SGX in October continues to contend that the “existence of the non-competition arrangement between the company and ProLogis is not material, and continues to be non-material to the ongoing business of the company”.  The quote is from its reply to BT who first exposed this agreement.

I won’t go into the legal issues involved except to say but I find the reply inconsistent. BTW the links to the  reply and rant may go walkabout in a few days’ time.

But what will SGX do? If it does nothing (putting the onus on the central bank: MAS approve prospectus leh), or investigates and then clears GLP, it will fuel Ozzies suspicions of the SGX takeover of ASX for two reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

StanChart: Shares fall 6% in 2 days

In Banks, Emerging markets, Temasek on 13/12/2010 at 5:17 am

StanChart shares have fallen 6% since last Thursday when it told the market that costs were rising and wholesale banking revenues weak.

For StanChart, growth is proving costly. The British bank with a strong focus on Asian emerging markets said last Thursday that it had another record year to look forward to, predicting further growth in its pre-tax profit for both the consumer and banking wings of its business. However, such growth comes at a high price, and costs for the bank have been growing faster than it would ordinarily allow.

Its finance director said the bank would try to slow cost growth next year until it draws level with income growth once again.

Reminder: Temasek has 19% of StanChart and the bank is one of its best picks ever.

Welfare: Jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today

In Economy on 09/12/2010 at 5:20 am

When read I this “prudence and discipline” article last Friday* reporting a speech on S’por’e welfare system (past, present and future) by the PM, I was reminded of the conversation between Alice and the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There”.

In the book the White Queen offers Alice “jam every other day” to work for her: “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today … It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.

“[J]am to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today” has since then become an expression for a never-fulfilled promise, which is what many think the promise to help the poor has become.

What annoyed me was that the PM  doesn’t understand the issue: saying we couldn’t afford European style welfarism. Trouble is no-one sensible is asking for this, certainly not the opposition parties or the do-gooders.

The ex-head of the civil service and now chairman of the Public Service Commission showed he “got it” when he said at a recent speech in the US to S’pore  scholars: “More and more citizens, especially younger Singaporeans, agonize over the fact that there are still poor people in wealthy Singapore.”

The issue is the smallish amount of welfare payments relative to the Budget. Take Workfare the govmin’s flagship programme. It  has the right idea but is too ungenerous.

The PM in November said abt Workfare: “[A] total of $1.65 billion in the last five years, or $400 million a year, to help 400,000 low-income workers”. The Finance Minister said in February this year that the enhanced Workfare scheme will cost the government S$100 million annually. So the spending on Workfare is now S$500m or 1.5% of the operating expenses in the latest Budget. Still peanuts. And yes I know that 1.65bn divided by 5, doesn’t equal 400m. Taz why I quoted the exact words.

And if the govmin is concerned that increased annual payments to the poor will lead to moral degeneration and the destruction of its “Work will make you free” philosophy (seriously though, there is the very human issue of rising expectations and politicians pandering to the voters), why not try Kaushik Basu’s solution? The Cornell University professor, and chief economic adviser to India’s finance ministry, says it is not enough that the income of the bottom 20% rise at the same percentage rate as the average. Instead, they should get an equal absolute share of the income the economy.

This would mean only a one-off transfer of S$3.1 billion to the poorest 20% of S’poreans. Less than Temasek’s realised loss on Merrill Lynch. Temasek could have lost as much as US$4.6bn (in 2009 March this would have been S$7bn) on Merrill Lynch. (BTW, March 2009 was not gd for Temasek. The much smaller loss on Barclays (800m sterling?, was then worth abt S$ 1.7bn ).

(https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/minimum-wages-missing-the-point/ for more on these)

We got the money for more “jam today”.  We don’t need to borrow to fund enhanced Workfare. Read the rest of this entry »

CitySpring Infrastructure Trust: a TLC dog with fleas

In Infrastructure on 08/12/2010 at 5:21 am

As regular vistors to this blog will know, I’m a sucker for yield and NAV plays. So I was starting to think abt CitySpring Infrastructure Trust which offers a prospective yield of abt 7%. It is also a Temasek-linked trust and could possibly be trading at a discount to NAV.  An investing sweet spot.

Fortunately before I even got to reading up the basic data on the trust, I chanced across a Kim Eng Eng Research report dated 30 November, which called the trust a ” sell”.

To forestall a credit rating downgrade of the three bonds issued by Basslink, CitySpring Infrastructure will set aside A$20 million (S$25.4 million) in an escrow account for this asset before next January. Although this move may resolve the CreditWatch placement by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), a capital structure plan involving an equity cash call seems inevitable in our view. So, while the forward yield of 7.1 per cent based on the previous DPU guidance appears compelling, there is no denying the risk of dilution.

… The bonds, worth a total of A$866 million, face a potential ratings downgrade that will trigger a cash lock-up at Basslink and affect CitySpring’s distribution policy … CitySpring will still need to submit a capital structure plan that will satisfy S&P’s stringent risk assessment. It plans to do so by next September. As one of the options, Basslink’s cash flow may be applied to reduce debt … A capital structure plan involving an equity recapitalisation seems highly possible in our view, given the presence of other debt obligations, such as the $142 million corporate loan due in August 2011 and the $130 million City Gas loan due in 2012. Even if Basslink continues to pay a distribution, unit-holders’ yield may still suffer a dilution.

We cut our DPU forecasts for FY March 2012 and onwards from 4.2 cents to three cents to factor in the removal of Basslink’s contribution. Our TP is lowered to $0.52, reflecting our assumption of a capital injection of $100 million to reduce gearing. Downgrade to ‘sell’.

Looks like the perfect storm. And I’ve found out that it’s last reported NAV is 0.34cents.

But I’ll monitor the trust, waiting for the capital raising exercise which I agree must come. It might then be like AIMAMP industrial reit or Fraser Commercial* — gd yields and discount to NAV to compensate for the overhang of units created by the rights issue. BTW, for waz it’s worth, I read in Monday’s ST that OCBC’s reit analyst and DBS’s  head of asset-backed structured product like industrial and office reits.

Investors in the Mapletree s-reits may want bear in mind that this trust was once a high-flying investment trading way above NAV, and giving gd yields. Until it the managers went walkabout in Oz Outback. Being part of the Temasek stable doesn’t mean that one can “close eyes and buy and hold”.

*office and malls (here and in Oz)

What S’pore and Ireland have in common?

In Economy on 25/11/2010 at 5:17 am

No not because S’pore is heading for insolvency etc if Tan Kin Lian is to believed http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2010/11/will-singapore-face-same-outcome-as.html

We and the Irish are dependent on MNCs.

Mr Honohan [the Irish Central Bank governor] … points out that Ireland’s official GDP and unit labour cost statistics have consisently overstated the size of the Irish economy and its productivity respectively – largely because that economy is so dependent on multinationals with headquarters in the Republic, whose high profits acrrue to the overseas owners of those multinationals rather than to Irish residents.

That overstatement of the magnitude of the output of Irish residents, which in some real sense is attributable to those residents, could be as much as quarter, he says. Excerpt from Robert Preston’s blog on BBC Online.

Here, where the economy too is dependent on MNCs, this means that the economy is not as big as the stats imply. And that productivity is even worse than the already lousy numbers show*. The latter isn’t juz Reform Party spin. Remember there is yet another government campaign to raise productivity going on.

Perhaps the fact that the economy is smaller than the stats imply  is why the government seems obsessed by the need to build up the reserves. We will (not might) need the rainy-day money, one day. Question of “when” not “if”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Property sales also fund our SWFs

In Economy, GIC, Property, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 19/11/2010 at 5:13 am

Did you know that when the government sells state land to property developers, the money flows into the reserves (which are managed by our SWFs)  and not into the Consolidated Fund like other government income?  This is uniquely S’porean. Other countries credit land sales to income.  The government’s rationale is that as state land is an asset, sale proceeds should not be credited to income but to capital (reserves). Makes sense, but that’s not how other governments account for land sales: even HK, and no-one can say that HK is badly run or profligate.

So when HDB “buys” land from the government it is adding to the reserves. As it and government claim that the price an apartment is sold does not reflect this price, they claim HDB makes a loss. But whatever it is (I leave it to others to dispute this claim), the reserves are increased.

So in addition to the surpluses (generated by thriftiness or meanness according to who is talking) and (indirectly via a circuitous route) our CPF monies https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/how-we-fund-our-swfs/, sales of state land also contribute to the reserves that GIC, Temasek and the central bank manage.

There was one financial year ending March 2008 ( I think), where the government injected abt S$10 billion into Temasek. This sum was more or less equal to the amount that the government took in property sales for that year. Easy come, easy go as in the following yr Temasek could have lost as much as US$4.6bn (in 2009 March this would have been S$7bn) on Merrill Lynch. And there was the much smaller loss on Barclays (800m sterling?, then worth abt 1.7bn S$). Err not much change left over from injection: only S$1.3bn, “peanuts” as Mrs GCT might have put it, except she didn’t.

So this combination of surpluses, CPF money (indirectly via a circuitous route), and state land sale proceeds, have resulted in our SWFs having 179.5% more in assets than S’pore’s 2009 estimated GDP.

The Norwegian’s much larger fund (US$471bn) is only 23% more than Norway’s GDP. Abu Dhabi’s fund (at US$627bn) is 627% of its GDP. For those interested, I used FT’s US$248bn for GIC and US$133bn for Temasek. As to GDP numbers, I used CIA Fact Book as reference. (BTW, I’ve not taken into account the amt of foreign reserves that MAS manages because I could be double counting if I do. For the record, MAS says its reserves as at end 2009 are US$188bn).

So we got plenty of $ to make housing more affordable*. And there is no need to change constitution, or cut other expenditure.  Juz change the accounting rules on land sales.

BTW, I am working with an illustrator so that it is easier to visualise the connections between CPF, surpluses, Consolidated Fund  etc https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/how-we-fund-our-swfs/ . Hope to post something one of these days. [Update on 4 December, the cartoon]

*Even after taking away our public debts; 8th in the world at 113.10% of GDP. [Update at 10.30 am]

StanChart has no plans to buy DBS

In Banks on 11/11/2010 at 5:28 am

The CEO of StanChart’s SE Asian operations said recently that Standard Chartered had no plans to spend the proceeds of a £3.3bn (US$5.3bn) rights issue on a significant acquisition in Asia. The bank planned to expand in the region largely through organic growth, rather than acquisitions.

The bank was not looking for any “transformational transactions” in SE Asia, although it might seek to acquire small businesses specialising in sectors or products that would add to its operations.

This would rule out a bid for DBS. Many had speculated (self included) that the bank might be preparing to spend part of the rights issue proceeds on a large acquisition. A very few (self included) speculated that DBS was a target, given that DBS is so badly managed and Temasek is a controlling shareholder in both.

DBS reminds me of StanChart in the 70s and 80s, when the latter got almost everything wrong. Only in the 90s did it get its act together. For younger readers, in the 60s Hongkong Bank and StanChart were roughly the same size, even though the former was already the leading bank in HK.

Standard Chartered bought two smallish S’pore-based businesses

— an aircraft leasing business in 2008; and

— a small factoring business earlier this year.

In 2008, it bot the private banking business of American Express in £430m.

India doesn’t trust our SWFs

In GIC, India, Temasek on 11/10/2010 at 4:31 am

Once upon a time, India deemed GIC and Temasek to be one entity and there was a 10% on the joint holdings of both in Indian companies. The Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) which was signed in 2005 provided that Temasek and GIC were to be recognised as separate entities, i.e. each is entitled to each own up to a 10%  stake in a company.

There is a report in an Indian newspaper that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has ordered  that both Temasek and GIC could only own up to a combined 15% stake in a company, or takeover rules would be triggered.

Can you blame one MM for once being sceptical abt investing in India?

StanChart a takeover target?

In Banks, Emerging markets, Temasek on 22/09/2010 at 5:24 am

(Updated on 13 October)

No not Temasek as predator. Remember it has 18% of StanChart.

But what abt JP Morgan? Top FT reporter Francesco Guerrera analyses

The international conundrum is more complex. JPMorgan earns some 75 per cent of its revenues in the US, a slow-growing, developed country. By contrast, Citi derives some 40 per cent of its revenues from Latin America and Asia, emerging economies with a bright future that are also HSBC’s stomping ground.

Those lenders’ competitive advantage is their ability to offer boring-but-lucrative commercial banking and cash management services to thousands of companies.

JPMorgan has a deep commercial banking network in the US – its most profitable business – but lags overseas.

The bank already works with more than 2,000 foreign companies but Mr Dimon would love to get that number to nearer 4,000 and do more with each of them.

To this end, JPMorgan is adding 250 bankers and $50bn in extra lending to lure foreign companies. But that could take decades and the bank might want to shorten the wait with bolt-on acquisitions (as its investment bank did with Britain’s Cazenove and RBS Sempra).

The recent moves by Heidi Miller, a veteran executive, to lead the international effort, and Doug Braunstein, a takeover specialist, to the role of finance chief, certainly point in that direction.

But, as my GPS intones when I get lost, “there is a better way” – in theory at least – and it leads to Standard Chartered.

A well-run, commercial and retail bank with strongholds in Asia, Latin America and Africa, StanChart could be the answer to Mr Dimon’s problems.

It would not come cheap – its valuation is well above JPMorgan’s – and a bid by Mr Dimon would trigger a war with HSBC and China’s ICBC, among others.

But JPMorgan’s good health affords its chief the luxury of time.

On 12 October 2010, StanChart was up 2% on rumours that JP Chase would bid.

Temasek: Financial engineering STATS

In Private Equity, Temasek on 15/09/2010 at 5:11 am

STATS ChipPAC, a chip-tester, recently raised US$600m. As STATS is undergoing a recapitalisation exercise, this means the $ will go to shareholders. Temasek has 81% of STATS.

Glad to see that that Temasek is using a private equity “trick” to enhance its returns. Borrowing money and using the loan proceeds to return $ to shareholders.  Every little bit helps post the losses on Shin, ABC Learning, Merrill Lynch and Barclays.

Maybe Straits Trading should try this “trick” as a way to reduce the the loans that Tecity is alleged to have taken out to fund its controlling stake in ST. It owns over 70% of ST and ST has lots of solid assets that would provide gd security for the loans.

But borrowers have to be careful. It’s OK if the borrower’s controlling shareholder is a SWF but not if is juz a family company. Cash flow projections may be wrong,  or bonds may mature at the wrong time.

StanChart: Getting too aggressive?

In Banks, India, Temasek on 10/09/2010 at 5:11 am

Is Standard Charterd (which like HSBC) had a good crisis taking on too much risk? We shld care as Temasek owns 18% of StanChart, and StanChart  is one of its best performing investments.

Ranked 14th among merger advisers in India in 2009, StanChart is now number two (and could be soon Numo Uno) by financing takeovers in the world’s second-fastest growing major market for M&A deals, Bloomberg reports.

The problem is that in the 1980s and 1990s, major US investment banks  and European universal banks  got into serious trouble by financing takeovers in the US. The deals went sour when the economy collapsed. The banks had tot financing takeovers was a gd way (“no brainer”) of getting into the lucrative M&A game.  They forgot that these loans are margin financing by another name.

Is StanChart repeating the same mistake?  Maybe it thinks India’s economy may never collapse. But never take for granted anything about a country that needs “divine help” to get ready for the October Commonwealth Games.

GIC: a problem at Citi

In Banks, India, Temasek on 08/09/2010 at 5:49 am

Some analysts and accounting experts (among the latter Lynn Turner), a former chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission,  say Citi must set aside funds to cover US$50bn of deferred taxes.

These assets  are important to Citi. At the end of the second quarter, deferred tax assets made up more than a third of Citi’s tangible equity. So if he had to set aside funds, this would reduce its capitalratios and weaken its balance sheet.

To avoid setting aside funds, Citi has to be confident it will earn US$99bn in taxable income during the next two decades. It says it can.

However as  its pre-tax losses in 2008 and 2009 topped US$60bn, these critics ask why it should be trusted.  They have a point, while between 2002-2006 period Citi had annual pre-tax profits of at least US$20bn, this got wiped out by the recent losses.

Err so will this “30-yr” investment be around in 30 yrs time, let alone make money for GIC, as MM predicted? Remember Temasek cut loss on its Merrill Lynch investment, after doubling down, and juz before market turned.

S’poreans, Temasek may have a problem

In Banks, China, Temasek on 03/09/2010 at 6:52 am

Of the 90 publicly listed Chinese property developers listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, almost two-thirds of them reported negative operating cash flows for the first half of 2010.

This makes clear why the Chinese authorities had earlier asked the banks to use a 60% haircut in estimating residential property  losses.https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/temasek-what-abt-these-chinese-property-charts/

Looks like trouble for the Chinese property developers and banks may be coming sooner than later, and for China bank bull Temasek. A repeat of Merrill Lynch and Barclays?

Remember Temasek owns 4% of Bank of China; and 6% of  China Construction Bank. And StanChart is a cornerstone investor  in Agricultural Bank of China with abt 1% paying US$500m for this privilege). Temasek owns 18% of StanChart.

And what about CapLand and KepLand, with their biggish exposure to Chinese residential properties?

Sigh

Dogs? Temasek’s Chinese bank investments

In Banks, China, Temasek on 26/08/2010 at 5:15 am

Might sound dumb to ask given that the Chinese banks that Temasek invests in are some of the largest in the world, and given that China’s economy is growing like the bean stalk in the story Jack and the Bean Stalk.  But then Shin, Merrill Lynch and ABC Learning were “no brainers”.

State agency Central Huijin Investments did something strange recently. It has controlling stakes in nearly all of China’s largest banks, including China Construction Bank (6% owned by Temasek), Agricultural Bank of China (StanChart is a cornerstone investor with abt 1% paying US$500m for this privilege) and Bank of China (4% by Temasek) . Temasek owns 18% of StanChart.

Huijin just raised Rmb40bn (US$5.9bn) as part of  a Rmb187.5bn fund raisng. The aim of raising the Rmb187.5bn is to recapitalise  Chinese banks it controlled.

Sounds prudent given the explosive loan growth rates of the banks brought about by Chinese attempts to stimulate the economy.

But this is the weird bit: the state-controlled banks were estimated to have bought more than 80% of Huijin’s first bond issue, on orders from their shareholder. If this is repeated, this means the Chinese banks are lending money to their controlling shareholder so that the shareholder can buy shares in them.  No new cash is invested by the controlling shareholder.

Sounds something that only Wall Street cowboys would dream of doing.

Except that the Wall Street cowboys would be in jail for pulling off this stunt, unless of course, if a Texan is president.

Temasek, CapLand: What abt these Chinese property charts?

In China, Property, Temasek on 11/08/2010 at 5:15 am

Courtesy of this blog. And look at the money supply charts too.

No wonder China’s banking regulator told lenders last month to conduct a new round of stress tests to gauge the impact of residential property prices falling as much as 6o% in the hardest-hit markets. Banks were instructed to include worst-case scenarios of prices dropping 50- 60% in cities where they have risen excessively. Previous stress tests carried out in the past year assumed home-price declines of as much as 30%.

Expectations seem to be for a sharp decline in Chinese property prices over the next two years, with some, and perhaps significant, impact on Chinese banks.

Some time back it was reported that Temasek had emerged as one of the top 10 acquirers in the Greater China region,

after doing six deals worth US$1.47 billion since 2005. According to a market M&A report commissioned by Deloitte, Temasek is ranked No 9 – after Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which are No 7 and No 8 respectively. The report Read the rest of this entry »

Swee Say said that gd Temasek lost billions?

In Banks, Temasek on 04/08/2010 at 5:27 am

Cabinet minister and NTUC’s Secretary General Lim Swee Say  is confident that Singapore will be able to replenish the S$4.5 billion drawn from the reserves over two to three years. He said  Singapore makes sure that every dollar is put to good use and every extra dollar is put back into the reserves.

So is he saying the realised losses on Merrill Lynch (may have totalled US  $4.6 billion) and Barclays (possibly 800 million pounds)  were a good use of the reserves? BTW they total S$8bn at today’s rates. Almost more than double the amounts drawn down for WorkFare.

More to the point, how long will Temasek need to make up for the losses on just these two stocks? Remember its profits have fallen two years running.

Temasek: China banks’ loans

In Banks, China, Temasek on 31/07/2010 at 7:14 am

Chinese banks may struggle to recoup about 23%  of the Rmb7,700bn (US$1,100bn) they’ve lent to finance local government infrastructure projects . reports Bloomberg quoting “a person with knowledge of data collected by the nation’s regulator”.

The estimate implies US$261bn of debt will go bad, almost five times the US$53.5bn the nation’s five largest banks are raising to replenish capital. Remember Temasek owns 4% of Bank of China and 6% of China Construction Bank, both of which have raised more capital from shareholders.  And 18% -owned StanChart  invested $500 million in Agricultural Bank of China’s recent IPO.

If the estimate proves even a bit correct, Temasek will be having to invest more in the next few years  to avoid dilution.

Related post

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/tlcs-in-china-groupthink-or-mastermind-at-work/

Temasek: Shale gas is a long term investment?

In Energy, Temasek on 27/07/2010 at 5:37 am

Taz at least to Exxon’s CEO talking of Exxon’s investment in XTO Energy.

And Exxon, the oil & gas major usually gets these things right. Remember it takes up to 30 years to develop a major oil or gas field.

Temasek doesn’t have such a long-term horizon. Remember its “long-term” investment in Merrill Lynch?Lasted slightly more than a yr, and it cut loss, juz as the market was turning, and top hedgies were buying into BoA (buyer of ML). Read the rest of this entry »

Temasek: Smarter than Yogi Bear?

In Temasek on 22/07/2010 at 8:29 am

In my last post, I speculated that Temasek raised sterling bonds because it might want to buy an oil minor. Read the rest of this entry »

Temasek: Why raise £? Buying oil minor?

In Energy, Temasek on 21/07/2010 at 6:18 am

Temasek, which had previously issued bonds only in US and Singapore dollars, sold £200m of 12-year bonds and a further £500m of 30-year debt.  The 30-year bonds were popular  with British pension funds because there is a shortage of long-term UK debt.

The 12-year bonds were priced at 95 basis points above UK government bonds, while the 30-year paper yielded an extra 90bp over gilts.

Temasek declined to comment on the rationale for the sale, the wires and FT quoted people close to the deal saying it was a move t obtain relatively cheap long-term funding, diversify its investor base and  borrowing profile.

There has been speculation that Temasek would invest in BP. The fundraising was not linked to any new investments in the UK, according to people familiar with the matter, the wires and FT reported.

But could Temasek be interested in a small London listed oil & gas company? It is interested in the energy sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Cambodia: There be value?

In Emerging markets, Temasek on 17/07/2010 at 7:20 am

Representatives of large US corporations, including General Electric, Johnson and Johnson and JPMorgan visited Cambodia to discuss the potential for future investment.

Few mths back, I heard Temasek is sniffing around too.

Note there is no stock market here yet.  One was supposed to start last year.

Temasek: Results Analysed

In Temasek on 08/07/2010 at 6:15 pm

Gd balanced coverage, here and http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/07/08/temasek-holding-another-unintentional-omission-by-straits-times/ And here [Update on 8 July]

But disappointed that no-one pointed out that the difference in the previous portfolio high in FY2008 and the latest high FY2010  is a measily o.5%. And this when net profit is down 2 yrs in a row, which again, no-one pointed out: FY2009’s profit was only 33% of that of FY2008 (S$6bn v S$18bn) and there was another 26% fall between 2009 and 2010.

GE: Opportunities beyond China

In China, Temasek on 07/07/2010 at 5:31 am

Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, has launched a rare broadside against the Chinese government, which he accused of being increasingly hostile to foreign multinationals.

He warned that the world’s largest manufacturing company was exploring better prospects elsewhere in resource-rich countries, which did not want to be “colonised” by Chinese investors. “I really worry about China,” Mr Immelt told an audience of top Italian executives in Rome, accusing the Chinese government of becoming increasingly protectionist. “I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.” Mr Immelt acknowledged the importance of the Chinese market, which contributed $5.3bn to the group’s revenues last year — FT.

But US$5.3 bn is a peanutty 3% of 2009 revenues, and China will always need natural resources, so his plan to do without China is credible, unlike Google’s*.

Hmm maybe, China-fixated Temasek and its TLCs can learn from this? In their case, diversify away from China without losing the opportunity cost of not investing direct in China. Get what I mean?

Temasek Gp are big in China

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/tlcs-in-china-groupthink-or-mastermind-at-work/

Mentality of China bulls

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/understanding-the-mentality-of-china-bulls/

*But Google has a cunning plan to use Android to soften losses on search in China. Never count Google out.


Why GIC and Not Temasek?

In GIC, Temasek on 05/07/2010 at 5:20 am

Norges Bank governor Svein Gjedremwas in Singapore to open an office of the central bank unit that runs the Norwegian SWF. It is the fourth office outside Oslo after London, New York and Shanghai. It will have 10 staff in Singapore to manage a portfolio of  about US$1.5 billion in assets.

He said in a lecture at the Singapore Management Universit he was looking for an opportunity to work with one of Singapore’s two sovereign funds, the Government Investment Corp of Singapore, to develop investment strategies for Singapore and elsewhere, according to BT.

Hmm, is Temasek too cowboyish for him? GIC came out ahead on its Citi investment,and while UBS is still an investment that lost value, UBS is still around, unlike Merrill Lynch where Temasek doubled down its bet. and Temasek cut its losses on Barclays, and BoA (the buyer of ML), just before markets turned?

Norway’s SWF’s performance https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/our-swfs-what-our-mps-are-not-asking-ii/

Temasek GIC ignoring Qatar’s ideas?

In GIC, Temasek on 04/07/2010 at 10:44 am

For example, when the Qatar Investment Authority is considering investments, “Government of Singapore Investment Corp and Temasek are our first ports of calls,” says one QIA executive. The QIA invested alongside CIC [China’s premier SWF] in Canary Wharf, beginning a dialogue which executives say they intend to continue, FT reports.

Don’t recall any deals where GIC, Temasek co-invest with Qatar. Temasek, GIC giving Qataris the cold shoulder despite their better track record?

FT continues:

Moreover, these funds are becoming more discerning – since they have learned who is trustworthy, by virtue of making some expensive mistakes. For example, there is still a lot of bitterness about representations made when executives of Citi and Merrill Lynch (now part of Bank of America) sought rescue funds. “They were like used car dealers,” says one leading investor in the Merrill deal bitterly, referring to the dialogue with that firm.

When those rescue financings were first made, some sovereign investors in these deals were able to extract better terms than others, including anti-dilution provisions and the right to reset terms while others did not. Recently, KIA and GIC were able to partly salvage their investments by changing the terms, while Temasek disastrously sold its stake in Bank of America at the absolute bottom in February, locking in a multi-billion loss (in spite of the advice of some of its peers not to do so).

Those bitter experiences have not prompted the funds to entirely abandon their investments in the US. When Larry Fink needed to raise billions to help finance BlackRock’s purchase of Barclays Global Investors earlier this year, he was able to raise the money from GIC, CIC and the KIA in less than a day because they all know and trust him.

Qatar can teach Temask, GIC the value of patience

In GIC, Temasek on 04/07/2010 at 6:18 am

When GIC and Temasek did the mega banking (UBS, Merrill Lynch, Citi) deals in late 2007, early 2008, they faced competition for these investments. UBS shareholders were even upset that UBS did not call for a rights issue because they tot GIC had got a sweet-heart deal. So did GIC when it (and many other reputable investors) funded the purchase of rent-control premises in New York. We know what happened there.

Despite having a lot more money (derived from oil and not the savings and hard work of the people), Qatar was a lot more cautious than GIC, Temasek and to be fair to our SWFs, other Arab SWFs, not to say the Chinese SWFs. Only the Norwegians may have been more cautious.

So last yr, as Qatar’s Sandhurst-educated ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, put it last year: “With the current crisis, many countries prefer to keep their money instead of investing it abroad. For us, though, this is an opportunity that will not be repeated in the next 20 years.”

Now lots of London is owned by Qatar.

Maybe we need FTs who are patient to advise us. Not FTs who are like us: impatient to get things done.

Oh and in October 2009 Qatar Investment Authority made a £600m profit on the exercise and sale of Barclays warrants, while retaining the other half of these instruments plus a direct 7% shareholding in Barclays. They made the investment in late 2008 and must have felt sick when in January 2009, when Barclays’ share price fell to 50p. Shortly thereafter Temasek exited from its Barclays investment made in 2007. To this day, no-one is sure how much it lost.

But all those who castigate Temasek and GIC (e.g.websites allied to Dr Chee and his SDP) for not being transparent should note that the Qatar Investment Authority does not publish an annual report.

BTW, this lady has no MBA, she dropped out of uni. But she advises the Qataris. A lesson for our SWFs?

Temasek: Vindication of its big bet on shale gas?

In Energy, Temasek on 16/06/2010 at 5:23 am

We’ve analysed that Temasek ignored MM’s warning against extractive industries (OK “mining” to be precise) when it went into shale gas https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/temasek-ignoring-mm-iii/

The news sometime back that Shell is paying US$4.7bn for a shale gas firm confirms that Temasek and other SWFs are correct. Err except that the seller, private equity firm KKR, is reported to have paid US$350m juz 11 mths ago for a “significant minority interest”.  KKR invested via debt convertible into equity.

So jury is out on whether Shell, Temasek, etc. are bubble blowers and buyers.

One wishes Temasek were ahead of the curve (StanChart, Indonesian telcos, Asian banks) instead of being in the middle (hopefully — like the Chinese banks*) or at the back (Merrill Lynch, Barclays, ABC Learning, Shin: anything else?)

There are reports that Temasek will be a keystone investor in the AgriBank of China. If true this will be the third major investment in a Chinese bank. The other two have been good investments.

DBS FTs: balls-up on top of cock-up?

In Banks, Corporate governance, Temasek on 15/06/2010 at 5:53 am

Islamic finance is set to play a bigger and more central role in global finance. This is because of greater awareness and adoption in more financial centres.

Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said this at the launch of the inaugural World Islamic Banking Conference Asia Summit in Singapore on Monday.

So why is DBS cutting back on the activities of its Islamic banking activities?

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/dbs-fts-goofed-again/

Temasek should sort out the “FT is best policy” that dominates the thinking at DBS. It is on its 6th FT CEO in a row. It’s costing Temasek (and ultimately us) shareholder value.

Remember it was an FT that overpaid for Dao Heng Bank, and messed up the takeover of OUB.  And the loss in market share in retail banking, so much so that the ex-CEO of PosBank has been brought back as adviser.

Other cock ups

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/dbs-fts-balls-up-contd/

SWFs: S’pore v Korea

In GIC, Temasek on 05/06/2010 at 5:16 am

Much more than Korea certainly.  The minister of finance said that the success of S’pore is due to S’poreans’ efforts.  More to the point the $ in our reserves are due to the recycled savings of Singaporeans https://atans1.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/where-gic-and-temasek-gets-their/

“Korea’s total foreign exchange reserves are about $280bn so it is only putting about 10 per cent into KIC*,” says Mr Kalb**. “Compare that with Singapore where the central bank keeps $150bn in liquid reserves and yet [of the country’s two SWFs] GIC is tasked with managing $250bn and Temasek $100bn.” $ = US$

*Korea Investment Corporation:  (Korea’s SWF)

** KIC’s CIO

Our SWFs: Another question our MPs should be asking

In GIC, Temasek on 04/06/2010 at 9:56 am

Some state pension plans have not adjusted their risk premium either since the financial crisis. They expect their equity portfolios to earn them more than 8% per year, a risk premium a bit larger than 5%. The state plans also have no incentive to lower their equity premium. If they do, their projected assets will fall and liabilities will rise. This means their funding ratios will plummet and they will have to start making larger contributions to the plan, which would likely mean higher taxes.

(Taken from link in previous post)

Our MPs should be asking if Temasek’s and GIC have adjusted their risk premiums. Remember the constitution has been changed to allow more of the returns from reserves to be used. Somehow I feel the people-in-blue will be the men-in -white clones on this issue. And our NMPs will not take up the slack. Miss Siew Kum Hong. Feminists and GLBT, you people shouldn’t have made him yr poster boy.   As for PAP MPs, what would you do to a dog that bites the hand that feed him or her unprovoked? Yes shoot the dog.

China: a problem S’pore doesn’t have

In China, Economy, GIC, Temasek on 31/05/2010 at 6:03 am

It’s labour unrest . Add another entry to the list of worries for the global economy and financial markets: labor unrest in China — NYT

I sure hope Temasek andits TLCs who have big bets in China have taken this into account. Remember, we don’t do”labour unrest” here.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/tlcs-in-china-groupthink-or-mastermind-at-work/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/why-my-obsession-with-tlcs-in-china/

Err time for Lim Say Swee to lecture the Chinese leaders on what they can learn from MM Lee and him on how to keep the workers docile?

Why S’poreans should miss Chips

In Corporate governance, Temasek on 31/05/2010 at 5:38 am

Temasek last week annced a new president and portfolio team head.  We shld be glad that Temasek did not succumb to its flagship bank’s “FTs are best whether they perform or not”.

But let’s get serious. Let’s use this annc of personnel changes to reflect on why the departure of one Goodyear Chips could affect us.

Many moons ago (February I think)  BT carried an article that backhandedly criticised Chip Goodyear saying that despite his sudden, unexplained departure from Temasek, he is still in demand from the corporate worl.  (Can you see the spin for Temasek in this SPH publication, whose chairman is executive director of GIC?)

And well he should be in demand.

When he was hired to be CFO of Melbourne-based miner BHP in 1999, the “Big Australian” had lost its way.  In the 1990s, it made a series of ill-conceived acquisitions and failed projects (err sounds like you-know whom’s recent record of Shin, Merrill Lynch, ABC Learning and Barclays), amid historically low commodity prices.

The then former investment banker (he was a CFO at another miner) was one half of an all-American dynamic duo (Sorry, I’m a Batman fan). The other was CEO Paul Anderson, who came from Duke Energy.

In their first two years, BHP got rid of 2,000 employees and A$6.9bn worth of assets. They then merged BHP with Billiton, creating the world’s biggest miner. And best of all the merger worked, a rarity in M&A.

A key legacy of his stint as CEO, analysts say, is the financial discipline he brought to BHP. He ensured it grew fast enough to capitalise on the commodities boom while avoiding the ill-conceived spending of the past; and all the while,  returning cash to shareholders. A tradition that has continued.

Shortly after he took charge as CEO,  it was announced that BHP would increase its capital management programme by more than four times to US$13bn, beginning with a US$2.5bn off-market return in Australia.

With the Singapore government tapping the reserves, someone with a track record of returning  cash to shareholders while growing the portfolio is needed.

There is no Singaporean with these skills.

And as to the disagreement with the board, maybe he wanted to do big deals, while the board had already decided Temasek should become a hedgie.

And maybe his deals would have been in the extractive industry (mining and oil & gas). Remember MM had said GIC would not invest in mining ventures, because he didn’t understand mining? Though now that Temasek is dipping its toes in mining and oil & gas, Chips and the recently departed Michael Dee (ex-Morgan Stanley’s MD in oil town Houston) would be missed.

Investing geniuses turn chumps?

In Uncategorized on 28/05/2010 at 7:23 am

No not our local MSM admitting that Temasek and GIC goofed badly. Remember the media orgasms when the chumps (sorry champs) bot into Merrill Lynch, UBS and Citi?

Several of the investors that spotted early the opportunities the subprime market offered, then started buying US banks early last year when Temasek was selling BOA and Barclays, now are looking fallible.

If I were carrying an ad for GIC and Temasek (I’m not, but wish I were) it would be, “The line between success and failure is very thin.”

Seriously, a top banking analyst believes that US banks are cheap. So these investors may be right three times in a row.

AIA takeover is nuts, PRU shareholders advised

In GIC, Insurance, Temasek on 26/05/2010 at 6:45 am

RiskMetrics, an international share proxy advisory service, issued a critical assessment of the AIA takeover bid, saying while a deal had “a sensible strategic rationale”, Prudential was paying a heavy price.

FT reported that RiskMetrics said Prudential was paying US$35.5bn for a company with US$1.6bn in post-tax operating profits.

“For this to work, profits have to grow substantially beyond the expected cost synergies. Our analysis indicates that Prudential needs very high growth rates at AIA to only meet a reasonable return on invested capital, something that seems a stretch when managing a difficult integration process.”

Let me know when our local media report this story.

BTW GIC’s interest in this stock shows that its analysis is different: it is willing to forgo jam today for  jam tomorrow (maybe).  Hmm must be MM’s 30-yr view at work. Wonder who is right.  Remember shortly after he last said this , Temasek sold its BOA stock, just before the market recovered. GIC held on to its UBS and Citi investments.

DBS: Another FT goof

In Banks, Temasek on 26/05/2010 at 5:53 am

Now it’s the Islamic Bank of Asia. Reading between the lines of the MSM spin, clear that its Islamic bank foray ran into serious problems. It now wants to focus on investment banking and become more active in private equity while remaining committed to growing its Islamic banking franchise in this region. And cutting back on financing because of losses when financing Gulf cos.

Sounds a bit like Aztech and Novena: having failed in what they were doing, they tried something new. “So easy meh?”

Why can’t Temasek exercise its prerogatives as controlling shareholder and get rid of the FTs. I mean the locals at CapitaLand are doing a gd job in Islamic financing. Juz being an FT doesn’t mean the right to “Fail, try again, fail harder” ; misuse of a misquote of Samuel Beckett.

Temasek itself is hiring locals in senior positions, ignoring the “FT is best policy” .

OK maybe I’m hard on the FTs at DBS https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/dbs-how-to-solve-the-ft-problem/

But at the very least, they do not have the luck that Napoleon expected his generals to have. He expected his generals to be brave, competent and leaders as given in his meritocratic army: but luck was different.

Backgrounder on Islamic Bank of Asia

DBS owns 50 per cent plus one share in IB Asia’s capital of US$500 million.

The rest was contributed by investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

IB Asia said at the time [of its establishment] that it would offer commercial banking, corporate finance and capital market and private banking services, acting as a bridge for capital flows between Asia and the Middle East. (From BT)

Founding CEO retired last December. I’m not sure before or after Dubai World declared a debt moratorium causing problems for other Gulf companies.

Temasek: Ignoring MM? III

In Uncategorized on 21/05/2010 at 5:23 am

Guess we now know why MM’s views on mining was ignored on this deal https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/temasek-mm-lee-being-ignored-ii/ Demand is red hot for shale gas: investments in shale gas than for it. Note $ below means US$

The sovereign wealth funds of China and South Korea are set to lead a $900m investment in a leading US producer of natural gas from shale rock, becoming the latest Asia-based groups to focus on the sector.

The talks follow last week’s disclosure that Temasek, the Singapore state investment fund, and Hopu Investment Management, a Beijing-based firm, had acquired $600m of its convertible preferred stock …

CIC and KIC are each expected to acquire about $300m worth of preferred stock, with the remainder purchased by Hopu, Seatown, an affiliate of Temasek, and a Japanese industrial group. CIC and KIC could not be reached for comment.

China Investment Corporation and Korea Investment Corp are in advanced negotiations to join a consortium planning to acquire convertible preferred stock in New York-listed Chesapeake Energy, according to people familiar with the matter.

[Update on 27 May 2010

Err could be an investment fiasco in the making. Private equity firm KKR has sold an oil shale company to Shell. Shell is paying US$4.7bn. KKR bot a  substantial stake in this co  for US$350m 11 mths ago.]

BTW, MM keeps telling Japan that they need to follow S’pore’s example and allow in FTs.

Well the Japanese have a better solution: they prefer robots over bringing in FTs. Solves three problems: the lack of menial workers, the need to integrate foreigners into Japanese society, and keeps Japan at the cutting edge of innovation.

MM is the sage from Telok Blangah but maybe the wise men (lesser than sages) in Japan make up by being collectively wiser?

Temasek: MM Lee being ignored? II

In Energy, Mining, Temasek on 17/05/2010 at 10:39 am

No not again. Temasek does another natural resources deal, it was reported last week.

Temasek and Hopu Investment Management, a Beijing-based firm, are to spend more than US$1bn to acquire a stake in New York-listed Chesapeake Energy; a US producer of natural gas from shale rock. They follow other foreign investors into the sector.

They  agreed to buy US$600m of convertible preferred stock and have an additional 30-day option to acquire a further US$500m of the stock, which they are “highly likely” to exercise alongside other investors. Bloomberg reports.

Cynics must be wrong to continue believing that the government (and MM lee in particular) controls the decision-making process at Temasek.  Temasek has the independence to do the wrong things. Bit surprising that Temasek’s PR machine does not highlight this. Are there subversives in the PR department that want to hide the truth of the relationship between Temasek and the government from the public. Friends of SDP and Dr Chee?

But still, one would have tot Temasek would listen to someone whom Time magazine rates as among the 100 most influential  persons in the world. Sigh, reminds me that somewhere in the bible there is something about a prophet being without honour in his own home.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/temasek-mm-lee-being-ignored/

Let’s hope that the Fates do not punish the hubris of Temasek’s management. We lose.

BTW three mining deals you may not be aware of

It agreed to buy a peanutty US$50 million stake in the January share sale in Hong Kong by SouthGobi Energy Resources Ltd., a coal producer operating in Mongolia.

It provided funding for Niko Resources Ltd.’s $300 million acquisition of Black Gold Energy LLC. Temasek bought the C$310 million convertible bonds issued by Niko, the Calgary-based oil and natural-gas explorer said in a statement on Dec. 30.

And it bought 382,000 additional shares in  Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, in the first quarter, according to a recent filing with the SEC. Based on a closing price of US$70.24, that additional investment was worth about US$27 million, “peanuts”.

Update 18/5/10

According to a Reuters report, it has also recently bot C$500 million in Inmet Mining and a peanutty US$50 million in Platmin over the past two months.

*

Our SWFs: Learning from the Arabs III

In GIC, Temasek on 13/05/2010 at 6:16 am

A new person helps, after a bad performance patch, even if the those replaced cannot be faulted.

Ahmad al-Sayed became chief executive of Qatar Holding in October 2008.  And it has tried  to take advantage of the financial crisis by picking up stakes in Barclays, Credit Suisse, Porsche, Volkswagen and Canary Wharf Group. And now buying the whole of Harrods.

Qatar Holding is the prime vehicle for strategic and direct investments by Qatar and is a division of the Qatar Investment Authority, founded in 2005 to diversify the emirate’s assets away from oil and gas.

Related post

Suggestion on how to motivate GIC, Temask staffers

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/motivating-the-elite-learning-from-n-korea/

Our SWFs: Learning from the Arabs II

In GIC, Temasek on 12/05/2010 at 12:29 pm

What the Qataris are planning to do with Harrods shows an “adding value” mindset, rather than a passive attitude

FT reports: Qatar Holding is considering whether to launch a flagship Harrods outlet in Shanghai following its £1.5bn purchase of the London department store this weekend.

Trying to replicate the success of Harrods’ Knightsbridge store overseas is one of four areas now up for discussion as part of Qatar Holding’s three-month strategic review of the business.

Ahmad al-Sayed, chief executive of Qatar Holding, will also investigate developing a luxury online store, expanding the Harrods brand beyond teddy bears and souvenirs for the mass market, and giving the London flagship store a makeover in order to expand the selling space.

Of course owning all of a private investment helps. Maybe Temasek should be more aggressive in pursuing non-listed companies.

Our SWFs: Learn from the Arabs?

In GIC, Temasek on 12/05/2010 at 5:39 am

Ahmad al-Sayed, chief executive of Qatar Holding, told the Financial Times that the acquisition of Harrods was part of a strategy to acquire “prestigious top-performing businesses and to buy them at the right point in the cycle”.

Qatar Holding is the primary vehicle for Qater’s strategic and direct investments. It is an arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which was founded in 2005 to strengthen its economy by diversifying into new asset classes.

Temasek’s investment strategy centres around four themes:

• Transforming Economies

– We invest in industry sectors that correlate with the economic transformation of the country

• Growing Middle Income Populations

– We find opportunities in companies and industries whose growth is fuelled by the increasing purchasing power of middle income populations

• Deepening Comparative Advantages

– We tap the potential of competitively-positioned companies

• Emerging Champions

– We identify companies proving to be best-in-class, be it regionally or globally.

GIC simply says, The group strives to achieve good long-term returns on assets under our management, to preserve and enhance Singapore’s reserves.

Note nothing about trying to time investments. Maybe thaz why they messed up big-time on Merrill Lynch, Citi and UBS. Even MM admitted that much saying they went into too early into financials.

Now Qatar’s  track record is not that great either: but at least it sets out a benchmark on which it can be judged.And it shows it is aware of the importance of timing.

BTW a lot of Buffett’s skill is in knowing when to be greedy.

GIC’s strategy is

Value investing: Ask the right question stupid

In Investments on 07/05/2010 at 5:16 am

Those who consult Kwan Im and other deities, know that asking the right question is the key to a successful consultation.

Likewise in business, asking the correct question is the key to success. Google did, Yahoo didn’t.

In the mid-nineties, Yahoo! tried to figure this [what web search is] out by asking of every website “where does this belong?” They created categories, then had an actual live human look at each site and make a judgment, like a librarian. … But the web grew exponentially, and there weren’t exponentially more librarians for hire. Google beat Yahoo! by asking a different question: instead of “where does this belong”, they asked “who linked here?” A link became a proxy for a human decision; to link to something is to decide that it’s in some way relevant. Google reads links as human intent i.e. web search is an attempt to figure out what people want, not what librarians say where something belongs.

So in investing prior to and during the recent crisis, Buffett (“Is there value?”), Paulson (“Is sub-prime over-valued”) asked the right questions, GIC, Temasek and many others didn’t.

Temasek: Another banking success

In Banks, Emerging markets, Temasek on 06/05/2010 at 3:41 am

Temasek owns 19% of Standard Chartered. Standard Chartered has said that it made record profits and income in the first three months of 2010.The London-based bank, which operates mainly in Asia, said that it “remains in excellent shape”.

It  did not release profit figures for the quarter, but the remarks in its trading update point to a strong 2010. “Overall, the group has had a very strong start to the year, despite margin headwinds and increasing competitive pressures”.

In the first half of 2009, Standard’s profits were a record US$2.84bn (£1.86bn), suggesting profits for the first quarter of that year of about $1.4bn.

The  comment that it had “a record quarter in terms of both profit and income” for 2010 indicate it could beat these figures when it reports half-year results later in the year.

Wholesale banking, which includes advisory, trade finance and other investment banking business, saw client income rise by more than 20% on the first quarter of 2009 and contributed more than 80% of wholesale income, the bank said in its statement.

Wholesale banking has driven Standard Chartered’s growth in recent years and accounted for over 80% of group profit last year.

Temasek: Update on its China bank investments

In Banks, China, Temasek on 05/05/2010 at 5:49 am

As readers will be aware Temasek has strategic stakes in Bank of China (4%) and China Construction Bank (6%), two of the four biggest Chinese banks.

These investments have done well, but need cash because of the loans they were directed to make last year, when China wanted domestic demand to make up for weak exports. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/temask-profitable-holdings-require-more/

China Construction Bank has announced a plan to boost a balance sheet that has been eroded by a year-long lending binge. The world’s second-largest lender by market value, plans to raise up to Rmb75 billion (US$11 billion) from a rights issue which, if successful, will be the largest offering of its kind in Asia.

CCB will offer 0.7 rights share for every 10 existing A- and H-shares. The price will be no more than Rmb4.50 per rights share, according to a stock exchange filing on Thursday night last week.

Under the plan, approximately 16.36 billion new shares will be issued, of which 15.7 billion will be Hong Kong-listed H-shares directed to overseas investors. Only 630 million are Shanghai-listed A-shares earmarked for mainland investors. The proposal is pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Bank of China  announced plans to sell U$5.8 billion worth of convertible bonds sometime back and we shall see if it needs more cash*.

AND Chinese banks, flush from record profits that were bolstered by a yearlong lending binge, are expected to face a business slowdown as Beijing tries to slow lending to keep the economy from overheating.

Full article from NYT.

Update

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank by market value, and Bank of China, the country’s third largest lender by assets, are reconsidering previously announced plans to sell convertible bonds and new shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong, according to analysts and Chinese media reports. The banks might be under pressure from to sell shares through a rights issue to existing large shareholders and by selling more shares in Hong Kong than in Shanghai, as a means of stabilising the Shanghai market.

Value investing at its best

In GIC, Temasek, Uncategorized on 02/05/2010 at 7:05 am

Buffett has a big stake in Goldman Sachs and the recent problems there had “experts” saying that he must have lost serious money. But no: the fall is gd for him, “Heads he wins, tails he still wins”.

FT reports:

In a surprising turn however, Mr Buffett, also explained that the travails at Goldman had been specific net positive for Berkshire, which bought $5bn of preferred shares paying a 10 per cent coupon at the heart of the credit crisis when Goldman was in need of additional funds.

Despite the roller coaster share price ride, Mr Buffett said that the headline challenges facing Goldman made it less likely that the bank would call its preferred shares. Those earn Berkshire almost $500m a year. If it the shares were called Berkshire would get $5.5bn back, but could only deposit that in low interest accounts earnings less than $20m a year.

“Every day that Goldman does not call our preferred is money in the bank,” Mr Buffett said. “Our preferred is paying $15 per second … so as we sit here… tick tick tick … its $15 in the bank. I don’t want those ticks to go away.”

If only the FTs, scholars and ex-SAF generals were quarter as gd, GIC and Temasek could make better returns, giving government more money to help the needy. They should realise, as FT’s Lex says, Funny how “once in a lifetime” opportunities roll around every few years or so.

Our SWFs: What our MPs are not asking II

In GIC, Investments, Temasek on 30/04/2010 at 9:52 am

Do they even know that, Norway’s finance ministry will tighten risk controls over the country’s sovereign wealth fund but has rejected calls for an end to active management?

The scope for active management of the NKr2,757bn US$456bn) oil fund will be limited  after criticism of its performance during the financial crisis.

Norway has been reviewing its investment strategy since the fund lost 23 per cent of its value in 2008, doing worse than the decline in the benchmark portfolio against which it is measured. Initial calls for a shift to passive management have become more muted as the fund recovered most of the previous year’s losses in 2009 and outperformed the benchmark by 4.1 percentage points.

However, the report proposed the scope for active management, measured in terms of expected tracking error from the benchmark, should be reduced from its upper limit of 1.5 percentage points to 1 point.

Other proposals included limits to leverage and tighter regulation of risk concentration.

The fund, officially known as the government pension fund, recorded a return on investment of 25.6 per cent in 2009, the best in its 13-year history, on the back of its worst performance the year before.

As the Norway Fund went into the crisis underweiged equities, it used the opportunity to load up on equities last yr.

Our MPs should be asking ministers why S’pore is not following the Norwegians?

Fat chance as they never asked these the questions in this posting.

m/2010/03/15/our-swfs-what-our-mps-are-not-asking/

FYI

In Marchm Carl Heinz Daube, the head of Germany’s formidable debt management agency, travelled to China and Singapore for a meeting with two of the world’s biggest investors – as part of an attempt to tap a new pool of investors, such as sovereign wealth funds – who might be willing to buy German government bonds.

Sumething that the FT said “that would have seemed almost unimaginable – or unnecessary – five years ago.”

China: Command & Control

In China, Economy, Property, Temasek on 23/04/2010 at 5:15 am

As the loan officers for a regional branch of a major Chinese bank were preparing to issue more loans their computer screens froze. It was not a system failure due to Vista problems, rather the bank’s intranet network had been deliberately shut down to stop new loans being made. Full article

The purpose of the above is to illustrate that if the authorities feel the need to control the property market, they can be ruthless.

China must tackle its property bubble for the sake of economic health and social stability, even if the market feels some short-term pain in the process, an official financial newspaper said on Thursday.

Monetary tightening, along with steps to control housing demand and expand supply, are the right policy choices for the government, the China Securities Journal said.

The front-page commentary adds to the impression that officials are determined to make a success of their latest crackdown on property speculation. Previous attempts to cool prices have been tempered by a fear of over-tightening because the property sector is a pillar of the economy. Reuters/ NYT report

So investors in S’pore property counters with big exposures in China, be warned.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/capland-what-price-the-mega-china-deal/

I’m sure Temasek and its group cos are aware of how brutal the Chinese authorities can be.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/tlcs-in-china-groupthink-or-mastermind-at-work/

But based on the Merrill Lynch/ BoA fiascos, who knows?


Motivating the elite: learning from N Korea

In Corporate governance, GIC, Temasek on 18/04/2010 at 10:41 am

Maybe MM Lee shld take a lesson from N Korea, even though S’pore is not N Korea    https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/our-swfs-staff-shld-be-thankful/

No not execute* the GIC and Temask executives whose judgement lost us billions and made MM look no longer like a sage that he undoubtedly is, but an ordinary mortal that is stupid. He had defended the bank investments saying they were for 30-yrs. Now we know that it might take that long to recoup our principal in UBS; and that Temasek sold out of BoA while a top hedgie was buying.

But he could do something to those who goof up, so that others are more careful of messing-up. Even if those who goofed do not deserve to be punished.

What about caning them? So that the executives in GIC, Temasek , TLCs and GLCs will buck up. My friend heard him say at a lunch some years back of “Lining up some people and giving them six of the best [cane them]”. He was speaking at a lunch in his honour when he last visited KL. My friend was seated beside him, or so my friend claims. But my friend has been known to tell fibs.

If caning sounds outrageous in a civilised place, in the mid-18th century, the British court-martialled and executed an admiral for failing to “do his utmost”. It was meant “to encourage the rest”**. As the admiral executed was the son of an admiral, all naval officers (aristocrats, gentry or upper middle, the lot of them) knew that, if it could happened to a lord and an admiral’s son, it could happen to any of them.

A naval historian wrote that the execution forged “a culture of aggressive determination which set British officers apart from their foreign contemporaries, and which in time gave them a steadily mounting psychological ascendancy”.

For the rest of the 18th century and the whole of the 19th century, Britannia ruled the waves.

BTW the admiral had reason and justice on his side (just like the SWF executives, I’m sure): little gd it did him. And little gd should it do the executives. There are more important things that justice and fair play for individuals when matters of state or profit are concerned.

Hmm, maybe the N Koreans know their British history, better than MM, a Cambridge man.

*They executed the finance chief who messed up a currency reform resulting in protests and a climb-down by a government that is usually brutal towards protestors.

** Another reason was to appease public opinion. People were upset that as a result of his actions (very reasonable), a fortress was lost.

Temask: Profitable holdings require more $

In Banks, China, Temasek on 14/04/2010 at 8:13 am

Err the SDP and its new media allies will spin this as: “Profitable investments — requires more money. Waz happening Temasek?”

As you will be aware Temasek has stakes in two Chinese banks; 4% in Bank of China, and 6% of  China Construction Bank Corporation. These stakes are profitable.

But Temasek would need to invest more if it wants to maintain the size of its stake because they need a lot more capital.

China’s four biggest publicly traded banks (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of Communications , Bank of China, China Construction Bank ) could face a combined capital shortfall of at least Rmb480bn (US$70bn) over the next five years, according to the president of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, reports the FT.

All these banks have announced plans in the past month to raise fresh capital after orders to lend liberally last year. But the total amounts they plan to raise fall far short of the five-year estimate of Yang Kaisheng, ICBC president.

Poor Temasek: nothing satisfies critics gunning for you.

Temasek: MM Lee being ignored?

In GIC, Temasek on 05/04/2010 at 6:04 am

Bit strange this. Last week, two mining deals involving Temasek were annced*.

Strange because MM Lee said several years back that GIC would not invest in mining entures, because he didn’t understand mining. OK I know he is chairman of GIC but has no post in Temasek but remember Deng Xiao Ping had no official post in the CCP or government when many of the reforms were carried out.

So is Temasek ignoring MM’s sagacity at its, and our peril? Remember a few yrs back, he said SIA shld divest itself of SIA Engr. SIA told the world that SIA Engr and SATS were core to its strategy. Last yr, it divested its stake in SATS via a dividend-in-specie.

Things can go badly wrong, when MM’s sagacity is ignored. Juz like when Temasek divested itself of its BoA stake just as market was turning. Remember MM had defended Temasek’s purchase of Merrill Lynch as one for 30 years. Who was the wiser? MM or the pros at Temasek?

Anyway, don’t the instances where MM is ignored by Temasek and its TLCs show the lie that Dr Chee, his SDP and their local new media and foreign media allies are propogating: that MM is still the puppet master and that the PM and his cabinet his toys.

If Temasek and TLCs don’t listen to him, why shld the cabinet? Why indeed shld anyone?

*

— It will invest US$100 million in Platmin, a South Africa-based platinum miner. This will be in the form of convertible debt in the company. Temasek can convert all the debt into common shares at US$1.215 or about S$1.70 a piece when it matures on December 31 this year. It will then hold less than 20 percent of shares in Platmin.

*

— Temasek will buy about US$490 million ($685 million) of subscription receipts from Inmet Mining.The Toronto-based diversified miner said Temasek’s Ellington Investments unit will buy some 9.2 million subscription receipts, which will each be bought at about C$54 ($75). Proceeds will be held in escrow pending exchange of the receipts for Inmet common shares. The receipts will be exchanged for the 9.2 million shares, representing a 14.16 per cent stake in Inmet on a non-diluted basis. Inmet will use the money from the deal to develop the Cobre Panama copper project and for general corporate purposes.

Oil: Neither too hot nor too cold

In Economy, Indonesia, Temasek on 01/04/2010 at 7:22 am

Juz like Goldilock’s porridge.

Since August last year, oil prices have stabilised in the US$70 to US$83 range and according to this NYT articleEconomists and government officials say that if prices remain in that band, it could benefit the world economy, the future security of energy supplies and even the environment. The price is high enough to drive investment in future oil production and in supplies of alternative energy, they note, but low enough that consumers can bear it.

“It’s a sweet spot,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard professor of international finance. “It’s not too low that it’s crushing demand for renewable energy sources or causing debt and fiscal crises in oil-exporting countries. And it’s not so high that it’s driving African countries deeper into poverty and threatening the recovery in the U.S. and Europe.”

So for us value investors, the issue is avoiding being complacent because, For all the good that stable prices can do, however, no one is willing to predict they will last forever.

“Demand will change; supply will change,” said Christof Rühl, chief economist of BP, the oil company. “The world changes all the time.”

BTW looks like Temasek goofed in selling Orchard Energy

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/time-to-load-up-on-oil-connected-stocks/

But the buyer, RH Petrogas, is having difficulties completing the deal because the Indonesian authorities are insisting a transfer of an oil interest needs their approval.

“I goofed,”US$12 trillion man

In GIC, Temasek on 27/03/2010 at 6:53 am

His company, BlackRock, controls or monitors more than US$12 trillion (GIC and Temasek have, at best, an estimated US$700 billion), yet he admits he and his team made mistakes during the recent crisis.

“At the mention of these blunders*, Fink, who has been sprawled in his chair, suddenly stiffens. His voice takes on a harsh tone that is leavened only by his visible anxiety. “When you manage money, you are going to make mistakes. You are not going to be 100 percent perfect. Our job is to minimize those problems, to cauterize them,” Fink says, his voice rising. “We’re not perfect, and I’ve never said to anyone that we are going to be perfect. Our investors had all the information we did and they did their own due diligence.” He exhales deeply. “Our real-estate division is struggling because of bad performance, and we’re making changes. I don’t care if the whole industry blew up, our job is to do better than the industry, and we didn’t in real estate,” he says. “I am not making excuses. I lose sleep over these problems.” The Stuyvesant Town loss was “an embarrassment,” he says. Then his voice drops to a whisper. “I mean, my mother gets her pension from calpers.””

If you want to know about one of the heroes of the recent crisis, read this Vanity Fair article. Warning — runs to over eight pages.

*His blunders — “There was the strong backing of Lehman Brothers’ management as the bank was imploding, kicked off by BlackRock’s purchase of a large block of Lehman stock at $28 a share, three months before the firm went bankrupt. And shortly after Bear Stearns collapsed, Fink advised investors to put their money into riskier, high-yield debt, just before that market tanked. BlackRock … also contributed its share to the toxic-asset morass—with close to $8 billion of collateralized-debt-obligation deals that defaulted in 2007 and 2008.”

‘But BlackRock’s most public and costly mistake—for its clients, at least—was its purchase of the iconic Manhattan housing complex Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, a $5.4 billion deal that went into default in early January.” Remember GIC is an investor in this too. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/gic-ny-loss-us100m-more/https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/gics-us675m-loss-juz-be-the-beginning/

BTW Temasek’s comments when it was criticised for losing money over BoA/ Merrill Lynch. If anyone has seen Gic’s comments over its Stuyvesant or UBS loss let me know.  Not seen any on its website.

Temasek: on the telco trail again

In Telecoms, Temasek on 25/03/2010 at 5:20 am

Other than Shin, Temasek’s track record when buying stakes in Asian telcos has been very gd.  The Indosat stake was sold in 2008 for a gain of a not peatnuty S$223 million.

So as a S’pores (remember that the CEO says that Temasek belongs to us), I’m glad to see that Temasek has in the last few weeks taken stakes in two other SE Asian telcos.

Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia) acquired a 33% stake in Malaysian 3G operator U Mobile, the two companies said in a joint statement last Monday week.  ST Telemedia (a 100% Temasek subsidiary) is  paying 625 million ringgit (US$189 million or  S$263 million) for its stake in U Mobile. U Mobile is the smallest M’sian telco.

And in the previous week, ST Telemedia announced it was buying a 10%  stake in VNPT Global, a subsidiary of Vietnam public telecommunications group VNPT. A VNPT official said the deal was valued at 20 billion dong, a peanuty S$1.5million (thereabouts) as Mrs SM might have put it (she didn’t)

DBS: What the new chairman shld be looking at

In Banks, GIC, Temasek on 24/03/2010 at 5:27 am

CIMB is regarded as having overtaken DBS in the race to become a leading bank in the region according to Ranu Dayal of  Boston Consulting, BT reported a few days ago, though DBS remains the biggest South-east Asian bank by market capitalisation.

Hey whaz this?

CIMB is from M’sia, a country that is not as meritocratic as S’pore according to the then SM and PM  in the 1990s, now MM and SM respectively. While SM cocks things up regularly (for example, in the 1990s and early noughties, when he was PM, S’pore got complacent and productivity fell), MM gets most things right.

So how come CIMB overtakes our national banking champ (err shld it be chump?). Makes me ashamed to be a S’porean. I mean the meritocratic policy is in this region “uniquely S’porean”

Wait a minute, DBS has had Foreign Talents as CEOs and senior executives since the late 1990s. Could this be the problem? The FT policy trumps the meritocratic policy.

I am surprised that anti-government subversives are not using DBS to show up the government.  Given the track record of DBS,  one could reasonably argue that the FT policy is rubbish — overpaying for Dao Heng so much so that DBS had to take an impairement charge of over S$1 billion; making its Treasured clients (they are only S’poreans, not “countrymen”) poorer (HN5 notes); and running down the expensively acquired POSB brand before realising its potential and spending $ rebuilding the brand.

And the SDP and friends can reasonably cite CapitaLand, another TLC, as an example where FTs are scarce, but where locals do well at managing a TLC. The CEO is a local and so are many senior executves. It is the leading regional property company (by reputation and market cap) and a big player in China. More than can be said of FT-laden, spastic DBS.

Of course, one could argue that there is no casual relationship between bad performance and being FT-laden,and gd performance and being local-led.  And that one FT- laden bank does taint other FT-led companies. So look at the other listed TLCs — Keppel, KepLand, SembCorp, SIA, SATS, ST Technologies, SIA Engr, SingTel, Starhub, M1 and NOL. And judge for yrself.

Back to DBS, yesterday BT had an article speculating what the incoming chairman could do for shareholders. Well he could relook the FT policy at DBS: is the policy flawed or just that the wrong FTs were recruited? Too many people from Citi, the bank that the US government had to rescue? As a HSBC shareholder and customer, I can attest to the damage that these ex-Citbankers did before they moved on.

Update on 25 March 2010

Footie fans (FTs and those who hate RI, I assume) insist I post this to show that locals can be as rubbishy as FTs.

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/singtel-local-talent-policy-not-working/

S’pore is not N Korea

In GIC, Temasek on 19/03/2010 at 5:57 am

Recently The Reform Party’s Sec Gen told Reuters that in the private sector, “heads would have rolled” over the billion dollar losses that Temasek and GIC lost. He should know — he was a hedgie. Of course he did not mean to be taken literally.

Today the NYT reported that there are unconfirmed reports that N Korea’s finance chief had been executed by firing squad. He had been in charge of a currency reform programme that ended up with public protests, and some changes to the programme by the government.  Things unknown there.

Executives at Temasek and GIC must be glad that the S’pore government is more tolerant of failure. It also shows that comparisons between the two governments are wrong. LKY is right when he says that it is wrong to compare the two countries.

Our SWFs: What our MPs are not asking

In GIC, Temasek on 15/03/2010 at 4:35 am

In the US, there is growing concern that public pension funds are taking excessive risk to meet their targeted returns. —NYT article.

Our MPs should be asking ministers about the risks our SWFs are taking relative to their returns, not easily batted away questions on losses. In the context of the portfolios, the losses are as Mrs SM could have said (but didn’t),”Peanuts”, and as any CFAer could tell you, “Look at total portfolio return, not individual items”.

And asking if they are aware that Norway’s SWF commissioned a report by three business-school academics—Andrew Ang, William Goetzmann and Stephen Schaefer from Columbia, Yale and London respectively – that found that taking the recent crash into account, the fund’s performance was essentially indistinguishable from that of a passively managed index fund.

And what is the experience of Temasek and GIC in this passive versus active debate.

I don’t expect PAP MPs (hey they can be disciplined for being difficult and anyway there is such a thing as loyalty) or Chiam (he is sick) to make life difficult for ministers. But where is Low (Waiting for pension?), or Sylvia (Waiting to be given Low’s seat?);  and NMPs for?

Or for that matter the SDP? I don’t incude RP or KJ  because to do the economic analysis they are doing (and put it into understandable language)  is not easy, so let’s cut them some slack.

Miss Siew Kum Hong. His ideas of human rights did not only encompass gay and feminist issues like “anal sex is OK”, but also, what the Chinese Communist Party rightly includes as a human right, “economic rights”.  He gave a great speech on CPF and asked the right qns on our SWFs.

SingTel: Collateral damage from Shin?

In Telecoms, Temasek on 14/03/2010 at 5:51 am

Pro-Thaksin demonstrators  have reach Bangkok ahead of a  rally today (Sunday). The government has deployed about 40,000 security personnel. The Internal Security Act has also been invoked, giving the military extra powers to impose curfews and restrict numbers at gatherings.The last major protests, in April last year, turned violent, with two deaths and dozens of people injured.

This protest comes after the Supreme Court ruled that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s family should be stripped of more than half a contested US$2.3 billion. The court said US$1.4 billion of the assets were gained illegally through conflict of interest when Mr Thaksin was prime minister. The funds were frozen after Mr Thaksin’s elected government was overthrown in a military coup in 2006.

He, who is living abroad, has denied any wrongdoing.

The Economist reported two issues ago: “The court’s verdict exposes Mr Thaksin and his family to a range of civil and criminal charges. Prosecutors may go after members of his cabinet and officials accused of helping Shin Corp. The government can also try to claw back lost revenue from Shin Corp, and particularly its lucrative mobile-phone unit, AIS.”

Readers will be aware that SingTel has a 21.4%  stake in AIS.  No wonder Shin’s executive chairman and acting president Somprasong Boonyachai said to BT two weeks ago (juz after the court’s verdict) that Temasek could divest its stake in Shin Corp if the right buyer comes along.

Maybe Temasek is prepared to cut loss? It lost abt US$4.6 billion on Merrill Lynch so a loss of  around US$655 million (assuming that its interest in Shin is only 42%, and not the 79%  economic interest that some analysts have calculated) would be “Peanuts” as Mrs SM might have put it, though she did not.  I mean waz US$655 million when you dropped US$4.6 billion?

Time to call John Paulson? He is the hedgie who bot BoA (that bot ML) when Temasek was selling.

But on Friday that same Thai said Temasek had no plans to sell its stakes in Shin or in satellite unit Thaicom.  Either he is the Thai version of Gopalan Nair or Temasek has changed its mind in two weeks

Anyway, the repercussions  of the Shin deal go on and on https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/better-at-destabilising-than-investing/

BTW a conspiracy theorist or one who practices the art of guessing what is going on behind the scenes: dietrologia in Italian, literally “behindologypoint”, has argued that the Shin purchase was a gd deal that went wrong because of the coup.

A Pakistani (you know how mad they can be) of my acquaintance has connected  the dots between these three indisputable facts

1 When Thaksin was PM he had proposed spending 1.7 trillion baht between 2006 and 2010 (then US$47 billion) on mass transit systems, water pipelines, communications technology and other projects to boost the economy and improve the country’s infrastructure.

2 TLCs have the expertise to do these projects.

3 Thaksin has been found by the Thai courts to be venal.

My mad Paki wonders aloud if someone might have tot of the billions of $ that TLCs could from the Thai government win if Shin was bot at a more than fair price? Note that the price was so fair to shareholders that brokers recommend that they sell to the consortium

I told him S’pore Inc. does not bribe: if we did we would be more successful than Taiwanese and Hongkies in China. He pointed out that S’poreans learn from their mistakes.

Update 15 March 4.30 am

Tens of thousands of Thai opposition supporters have rallied in Bangkok  and gave Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva until Monday afternoon to call fresh polls. They vowed to demonstrate across the capital if he refuses to do so. The government insists it will not stand down and has tightened security.


Understanding the mentality of China bulls

In China, Economy, Property, Temasek on 12/03/2010 at 5:23 am

Reading this, I think I can understand the thinking of CapitaLand and other China property bulls. “Everyone agrees China is in the middle of a spectacular real estate boom. The question is whether it is in the middle of a rapidly growing real estate bubble.”

There’s serious money to be made in the short-term.

And a very reputable economist and China watcher, Nicholas R. Lardy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, say the housing boom is being propelled by a huge urbanization push that is creating premium-priced houses. He is not the only economist to say this. And CapLand said this yesterday.

So if China is a core market, you really don’t have a choice. You got to double, triple yr bets, and pray hard that you get out in time.

Relevant posts

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/capland-what-price-the-mega-china-deal/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/tlcs-in-china-groupthink-or-mastermind-at-work/

Standard Chartered: more copycating of HSBC

In Temasek on 10/03/2010 at 5:57 am

Now that Standard Chartered has followed HSBC in saying that it wants to get a China listing–  just  after  its CEO  said it will donate his bonus to charity, ala HSBC’s CEO — maybe it will announce that it wants to buy a bank in China: what HSBC was reported as planning.

Some people are surprised that Temasek did not quash the bonus plan. You can only guess why they tot Temasek would be upset. But remember Temasek says it does not interfere with its investee cos’ commercial decisions.

OCBC: Value to be unlocked, cash returned to shareholders

In Investments on 08/03/2010 at 5:41 am

[Note on 26 April 2010 11.30 am, this piece was updated as the 2009 annual report was made available on website]

If OCBC mgt wants to unlock value and return cash to shareholders, this is how to do it.

First by reading the FT. “Prudential, trading at roughly 1 times embedded value, appears to be overpaying by offering 1.7 times EV for a business [AIG]with lower-quality profits. The valuation appears less outlandish, however, when compared with prevailing multiples in Asian markets of about 1.7-1.8 times”. EV means embedded value.

At its present share price (S$15.90), OCBC’s GE Life is trading 21% above its 2009 embedded value because GE LIfe’s free float is tiny: OCBC has 87% of GE Life.

At 1.7 X EV share price shld be 22.35 or 41% up.

And in 2009, AIA had 5% growth at operating level. Based on GE’s annced results, GE’ s is several times that. So given GE life’s smallish size and profitability, 2 X EV would be fair (even taking into account its very weakish presence in China: but then it is building up mkt share in Indonesia) .   At 2 X embedded value, share price is almost $26.30 — 65% up.

OCBC mgt:  Time to call, Allianz or Aviva? Or Temasek? That bull on Asian financial stocks.

After all, OCBC  can keep the bankassurance model (OCBC retains exclusivity in branch selling insurance where it has a decent branch network) ), and can buy shares in an insurance co that is buying GE Life (to participate in growth of insc biz). And remember OCBC has no access to GE Life’s cash flow. It can only equity account GE Life.

The sale would bring in around S$10.5 billion in cash to OCBC or $3.15 a share.

But I doubt whether mgt or the controlling shareholder would want to do this deal. The downside is that OCBC would shrink and be smaller than DBS once shorn of GE Life. Its engine of growth would be gone and it would be a takeover target. So long term, one could argue that deal would be bad for OCBC.

Still if I were the OCBC Lees, $2.8 billion(assuming all the proceeds are paid out)  is not to be sneered at.

Wondering why writing abt this fantasy deal? Showing off that my CF skills as gd as my writing skills. Hoping that sumeone will contact me offering me some freelance analytical work instead of word spinning work. Here’s hoping!

Temasek: Lost its balls? Or wings clipped?

In Temasek on 06/03/2010 at 8:53 am

The three banks (Credit Suisse, HSBC and JPMorgan Cazenove) supporting Prudential’s $35.5bn bid for AIA  said on Thursday that the soveriegn wealth funds of Qatar (Qatar Holding LLC) and S’pore (GIC) have agreed to underwrite a significant portion of the US$20bn rights issue.

Bit surprised that given its record of big (and successful) bets on Asian banks (unlike on Western banks), Temasek isn’t an underwriter.  Or maybe, it had its wings clipped? Or lost its nerve? Only time will tell us why.

Reminder: The Pru needs to raise the cash from its shareholders to fund most of of the deal. The group will also issue to AIG US$5.5bn of stock, US$3bn of convertible notes and US$2bn of preferred shares.

BTW, among the 30 -odd bank underwriters, Standard Chartered and United Overseas Bank are co-lead managers, while DBS is a mere co-manager.

Better at destabilising than investing?

In Temasek on 06/03/2010 at 6:12 am

Reading the local MSM last week on Thailand’s supreme court ruling that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s family should be stripped of more than half a contested US$2.3bn fortune* had me wondering if senior Temasek staffers involved in that deal missed their true vocation.

It was his family’s decision to sell its shares in one of Thailand’s biggest telecom groups, Shin Corp, to a Temasek-led consortium that led to his downfall. So one way of looking at things is that the decision by Temasek to lead a consortium to buy Shin was the cause of his troubles.

The early 2006 sale netted his family and friends US$1.9bn, angering many urban, educated Thais: the Thaksins had avoided paying tax and had sold a strategic asset to another country.

There were street demonstrations and he called a snap general election for April 2006. But the main opposition parties boycotted the polls and many voters chose to register a “no vote”.

Faced with the threat of further protests, he stepped down for a few weeks, but returned to office in May. In September that year, the military seized power while the prime minister was out of the country.

I’m  sure that the Temasek executives who made the decision to invest in Shin would easily get top jobs in the “black ops” section of the CIA, KGB or MI6.  Overthrowing an unfriendly government is hard enough to do (ask the CIA about Castro and Chavez) but overthowing a friendly government can only be done by geniuses.

After all they failed as Buffetts: an ST article kindly reminded readers that Temasek paid 49.25 baht for each Shin share and the present share price is about 28.   The offer price was so gd that brokers advised their clients to tender their shares. The Temasek-led consortium ended up with so many shares, that Shin shld have been delisted.  For some unknown reason it wasn’t.

And they failed as hedgies. John Paulson was buying BoA, just as Temasek was selling out. In BoA and Barclays with hindsight,  Temasek sold around “maximum pessimism” ,  losing an estimated U$4.6 billion

And Temasek’s Seatown wants to be a hedgie?https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/temasek-the-significance-of-seatown/

Talking of kids with toys using our money.

So working for the CIA might be best for Singapore, and the world. Obama needs help in Iran, Afganistan and Pakistan against some pesky Muslims.

And thinking abt it, they can also put on their CVs  how they made S’poreans angry with their government, and doubting its competency and compassion.

Many S’poreans are angry at the Shin, ML, and Barclays losses, and the growing perception here that the losses are a sign that the S’pore government “does” and tolerates  incompetency, within the government and state agencies.

Worse the govmin cannot answer the critics of its welfare policies that it is being prudent. These subversives (from PAP perspective) can answer back,”Prudence, what prudence losing a few billions here and a few billions there?”

——

*because the court said US$1.4bn  of the assets were gained illegally through conflict of interest when Mr Thaksin was prime minister (The funds were frozen after Mr Thaksin’s elected government was overthrown in a military coup in 2006),

Where shld Standard Chartered base its CEO?

In China, India, Temasek on 04/03/2010 at 5:28 am

Last sat ST reported that analysts were saying  that Standard Chartered will be forced to relocate its CEO into Asia in imitation of HSBC.

If it does, it will be a test of Temasek protestations that it does not interfere with the commercial decisions of its investee companies. Remember it is the single largest shareholder in SC (195 ), and all the other big shareholders are “peanuts” as Mrs SM might put it.

The logical place for the CEO is to base himself in HK, SC’s biggest market and which is part of China: it and HSBC are targeting China as the biggest driver for growth.

But could Temasek or its shareholder resist the temptation to have  SC’s CEO here. Singapore is way behind HK in IPOs, hedge fund HQs (Soros prefers HK as his Asia HQ), fund mgt,   and in wealth mgt where S’pore wants to be a global player, the head so HSBC and JP Morgan’s private bank are basing themselves in HK, or thaz what reports are saying.

Already the private bank’s  and PE’s global HQs of SC are here, giving SC  the perfect excuse for relocating its CEO here.And S’pore’s nearer India, another big driver for SC’s future growth. As  to HK and China, he can fly there on SIA, not Cathay, of course.

And relocating here will give our MSM the excuse they need to exult the merits of this government before the expected early general elections.  Hard for the MSM to laud the government given the growing inability of ministers to avoid contradicting one another.

Note the news that SC’s CEO will also donate his bonus to charity, came only after it was reported that HSBC’s CEO would donate his. SC is always playing catch up to HSBC. At one time they were the same size, but one is a global player, the other is 19% owned by Temasek. But then OCBC was once on par with HSBC.

I’m a shareholder of HSBC for over 25 yrs.

BTW the relative sizes of both and how both had a gd crisis:

“The ranking three years ago and for most of the preceding few years saw HSBC as the biggest bank, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland chasing its tail, Lloyds some way behind that and Standard Chartered as the enthusiastic, fast-growing puppy.

‘Today HSBC isn’t just the biggest British bank. Its market value of more than £120bn is more than that of all the other four added together. It’s in a league of its own.”

“Today the market value of Standard Chartered, at an almost unbelievable £32bn, is only £2bn less than Lloyds’ and £5bn less than Barclays. And it is £11bn more than RBS (although that’s to ignore all the “B” shares that RBS has flogged to taxpayers).”

Excerpt from http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/03/the_new_banking_hierarchy.html

and if you want to read why HSBC and SC did so well a gd read.

SingTel: African indirect approach is best

In India, Telecoms, Temasek on 23/02/2010 at 5:19 am

I read a media report that some analysts were querying when it didn’t invest in Africa direct, rather than allow Bharti to buy Zain’s African assets.  My tot,” what weed are these analysts on?”

Well for starters, the Indian govt would not be impressed with SingTel, Temasek and the S’pre govt if SingTel used its32% in Bharti to flow Bhart’s African ambitions which have the Indian govt’s blessing. Remember India thinks it has to counteract China’s grow influence in Africa.

And Bharti wants Africa. It made two attempts to merge with MTN,Africa’s largest telco.

If SingTel tried to use its 32% stake in Bharti to kill Bharti’s African ambitions,  SingTel, Temasek and the S’pore govmin would be the losers, just like us footie fans because the EPL bid has caused FIFA to raise the price of World Cup footie for us.

Then also SingTel’s mgt expertise is in developed couuntries — Little Red Speck and the Lucky Country.  Its ventures in India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Bangladesh: countries which once in trlco terms are like Africa today are thru associates where mgt are in the hands of experienced local mgrs who are not SingTel employees.   Zain is selling out partly because it can’t make serious $ in Africa. Africa generated about 45% of group revenues in the first nine months of last year but only 10% of net profits. Its managerial experience like that of SingTel is in developed telco mkts.

And would straight-laced, conservative SingTel be able (or want to or would we want it) to deal with cowboys in chaos. Example:   The privatisation of Nitel, Nigeria’s former state telecoms monopoly, is in a mess.  The Nigerian government found itself arguing with some of the preferred bidders over whether they had, in fact, bid at all. China Unicom – named as part of the winning consortium – said “it had not started any negotiations with respect to any substantive and legally binding agreements. It said its unlisted parent had not had any direct discussions with parties to the proposed privatisations. It said the European arm had been “in contact with potential bidders” for Nitel but did not name them,” according to the FT. At first, Unicom said it knew nothing of the bid.

Nope better for SingTel to let Bharti do the work. With all its experience, its share price is 11% down since the annc. of the Zain deal.  Clearly there is some concern.

If we don’t get to see the World Cup, SingTel will have a massive PR crisis on its hands in its home mkt. It doesn’t need Africa to add to its woes.

Temasek: the significance of Seatown

In China, Investment banking, Temasek on 22/02/2010 at 3:45 am

Seatown is Temask’s new toy: an absolute return fund. But with a reported US$3 billion available for playing in the pen:in the context of Temasek’s reported US$120 billion in assets, and the world’s biggest hedgies http://hedgefundblogman.blogspot.com/2009/08/top-100-largest-hedge-funds.html, US$3 billion is”Peanuts,” as Mrs Goh Chok Tong might say. Seatown doesn’t even make it to list of 100 biggest hedgies: the smallest of which manages US$4 billion +

So what is Seatown’s significance?

Since Ho Ching became its CEO, Temasek has done a series of big deals, taking controlling or strategic stakes in high profile companies like Shin, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, ABC Learning, Bank of China, China Construction Bank , Hana, ICICI Bank, NIB Bank, PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, and Standard Chartered.

Some were real dogs, others were good performers, and the balance were average performers.% of those still in its portfolio.

But whatever they were, the size of the investments meant that they could not be done discreetly. When things went badly, S’poreans knew, and knew whom they blamed.

It could be that Temasek will slow down Buffett-size deals, using Seatown to do lots of smallish deals that will not appear on the radar, and depending on rapid turnover (i.e trading) to make $. And if Seatown comes a cropper, US$3 billion is a rounding error. But if it does well, financial engineering will magnify its returns: supposing if Temasek funds Seatown from the proceeds of its recent bond issues, the cost of the capital could be “peanuts”, leading to great returns when calculated using the cost of these bonds. Or so I’ve been advised by the same people who tell me that SingTel should have taken an impairment charge (at least A$3 billion) for Optus and SIA for Virgin Atlantic (sum unknown but sure to be in billions whether in US$ or sterling).  And no they are not members of SDP, they are accountants’ accountants.

Moral of the story: don’t do a Buffett, unless you got a brain to match. Scholars, SAF generals, or FTs from top biz schools do not a Buffett make.

Maybe Temasek thinks that a Soros or John Paulson can appear from one of these  scholars, SAF generals, or FTs from top biz schools, though based on the exit from BoA (that bought ML), “Dream on baby”. John Paulson was buying as Temasek was selling.

And maybe the Chinese can teach Singapore Inc something. FT reports: “China Investment Corp, Beijing’s sovereign wealth fund, has agreed to invest $1.5bn in the private equity secondary market through custom accounts with three of the biggest specialists in buying second-hand buy-out and venture capital fund interests.

‘Lexington Partners, Goldman Sachs and Pantheon Ventures have each agreed to manage $500m for CIC through special accounts, which are to be kept separate from their main funds … The move is the biggest injection of capital into the secondary market.”

“It underlines how CIC is using its size to win special terms from private equity groups, including lower fees and transfer of knowledge on specialist markets … The era of big public pension funds and sovereign wealth funds accepting the same terms as smaller investors is over,” David Rubenstein, founder of the Carlyle Group, said.”

Outsource to the best, using wagga to get good terms.

But then the S’pore govmin is as mercantilist as the French.

CapLand: Time to buy?

In China, Property, Temasek on 20/02/2010 at 6:52 am

I read in the media yesterday that Credit Suisse analysts are saying that China’s property stocks, trading at the cheapest level among Asian peers, may be “worth another look”. Today reports that they “have underperformed the MSCI China Index by almost 30 per cent since July and are trading at a 7-per-cent discount relative to the region based on a model that values companies’ net assets and return on equity,” quoting Credit Suisse.

As CapitaLand’s 11% fall from its January highs can be attributed to its mega China deal coming just before China tightened its credit policies; since the US$2.2bn deal giving it seven sites located in Shanghai, Kunshan and Tianjin, takes the group’s Chinese portfolio to 36% of assets from 28%; and since it wants to increase its China exposure to 45% of assets:  Shouldn’t CapitaLand be on the buy list of China- property bulls?

SingTel: During the hols

In India, Temasek on 17/02/2010 at 5:19 am

After twice failing to merge with MTN, Bharti (32% owned by SingTel) has finally found a way into Africa: by buying the African assets of Zain.

At US$10.7bn in cash, this is not cheap. Zain’s African businesses are expected to earn US$1.3bn this year before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation; Bharti has offered about eight times that. Vodafone paid a similar multiple for South Africa’s Vodacom.  Eight times EBITA seems to be the norm where telco services are underdeveloped but with potential:  Vivendi paid this multiple for a stake in a Brazilian telco last year.

Why buy? Africa is undeveloped and poor: Bharti knows how to run a low-cost, high-growth business.  More importantly, India’s biggest mobile phone operator needs a new driver for earnings: in India,  it has 11 competitors and price wars.

So why is Zain a seller? The usual reasons that allow a deal to be made

Some of Zain’s shareholders need the money.

The Kuwaiti company cannot make serious wagga in Africa. Africa generated about 45% of group revenues in the first nine months of last year but only 10% of net profits.

Bharti’s shareholders are nervous, with prices falling 9% on Monday, afraid that despite its experience in India, Bharti will fail in Africa.

But for SingTel, it will have via Bharti a presence in Africa: a place with potential for explosive growth.

Why my “obsession” with TLCs in China

In China, Investments, Temasek on 09/02/2010 at 5:12 am

No, I’m not a member or covert supporter of Dr Chee’s SDP, always looking to run-down S’pore.

I try to be a “special situations” investor: looking for situations where the conventional wisdom is wrong. At present, the conventional wisdom on China is “Short-term bear, long-term bull”. So CapitaLand is punished by the market for their US$2.2 billion deal while, the seller, OOIL’s share price is stable in a weak market.

But CapitaLand and DBS already big in China, want to be bigger: and KepLand are rumoured to be thinking of doing a big( S$186 million) property deal. Temasek have big direct investments too. 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*.

They are going against the consensus view that the least one can do is to be cautious in China.

If the listed TLCs get China right, they could be 20-baggers.  Hence my interest in whether they are right. As for Temasek getting it right, Temasek, as its CEO says, belongs to us S’poreans.

——————————————————

Additional tots — 15 Feb 2010

But what are the odds of them getting it right?

Adam Smith (the economist. not the great US financial commentator of the 80s) wrote, “the chance of gain is by every man more or less overvalued”.

This more or less explains why great investors (defined here to include traders) like Buffett, Soros, Paul Johnson, Jim Rogers, Peter Lynch, Anthony Bolton and the old Kuwait Investment Office are so rare. They are better at judging the odds of getting things right.

And why the smart people in Temasek and GIC make mistakes. They are just like the other ordinary smart people managing money in SWFs, endowments, collective funds, pension funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors.

And why the smart people in CapLand and KepLand could be wrong. They could be like the smart managers in Time Warner that decided to merge Time Warner with AOL, or the managers at Sembcorp when they decided to go into property and Delifrance.

———————————————

Incidentally, a BBC Online article examines what is driving the  Chinese property market:

Demand for housing

Louis Kuijs, an economist at the World Bank in Beijing, says China still needed more houses, despite several years of fast-paced building, “In a rapidly growing country like China that still has a low stock of housing, there is a fundamental demand for new homes.”

Developers looking for sites

“In Beijing the search is still on for new sites for development.”

People still buying hses as an investment

One man  says he has accepted an offer to relocate. He already has two apartments in Beijing and he is going to use the compensation to buy a third.

Full BBC online article

CapLand (and KeplLand?) could be right abt China.

*’We work really closely with Sasac, the state-owned enterprise regulator in China, and there are literally trillions and trillions of renminbi of frankly defaulting loans already in China that no one is doing anything about,’

Neil McDonald, a Hong Kong-based business restructuring and insolvency partner with Lovells LLP, said at an Asia-Pacific Loan Market Association conference last week. ‘At some point, there’s going to be a reckoning for that.’ — quote from BT.


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.

EDBI replacing Temasek? Is CWT a gd bet?

In EDB, Logistics, Temasek on 05/02/2010 at 5:16 am

(Update on 1 December: See link to November 2010 post at end of article)

Remember last yr when Temasek revised its charter and took out something about “growing our own companies” (my words, not theirs)?

The local MSM, bloggers and various chatter-boxes moaned and wondered who would replace Temasek in its nurturing role?

Well last week, we may have gotten an answer: though based on the silence of the  chatterliterati, they did not know, or care, that their question might have been answered.

EDB Investments (EDBI) took around 2.7% of CWT’s enlarged capital, paying S$12.6 million.

According to a CWT statement, the investment arm of the  Economic Development Board subscribed to 16 million new shares in the company at $0.788 per share. The issue price represented a discount of nearly 10%  to the counter’s weight-average price of $0.875 the previous  Friday.

Net proceeds from the sale would be used to finance CWT’s long-term expansion.

For those not familiar, CWT offers integrated logistics services to commodities and chemical companies, in addition to providing international freight forwarding. It claims to have the largest container yard capacity in Singapore with four container depots.

Now all these activities are activities that the EDB wants to promote here. So you can the fit.

The transport and storage industries account for 9% of Singapore’s GDP (gross domestic product) and employed about 182,000 people in 2008: quite a contribution neh?

And, as BT said “the competitiveness of Singapore’s trading and export-orientated manufacturing industries depends on a strong logistics industry that can offer high value, integrated supply chain services to connect Singapore with the global markets.”

Other good reasons to invest in CWT Read the rest of this entry »

SingTel: Did you know?

In Investments, Temasek on 26/01/2010 at 5:53 am

SingTel is in the news because of reports that its successful bid for EPL rights made FIFA up the price for the World Cup rights for S’pore.  Great screw-up: sabo Starhub, end up saboing S’poreans?

But S’poreans might want to know (not reported in MSM) that its 32% owned associate in India has just issued a set of bad results. Dominant operator Bharti Airtel announced a 2% (‘peanuts’ Mrs Goh Chok Tong would say) year-on-year increase in earnings in the fourth quarter.  Bharti’s average revenue per user dropped 30% over the past year to US$7 per month.

Twelve companies all with big ambitions and plenty of cash are fighting a price war. Worse more players are coming.

So while the value of its Indian investment is in peril, it is focusing in S’pore on the entertainment biz.  No wonder it is trying to sell a 25% stake in Optus at a highish valuation. It got to look gd somewhere.

Temasek and China’s Bad Loans

In China, Economy, Temasek on 24/01/2010 at 5:16 am

Temasek has big holdings in two Chinese banks: 4% of Bank of China and 6% of China Construction Bank.

So this is worrying: “For the banks themselves, the lending splurge threatens to undo significant progress made in recent years in reducing ratios of problem loans to total lending.” Part of of an IHT article.

It goes on:

“A decade ago, Chinese banks staggered under a load of bad debt, reported by the Bank of China at nearly 40 percent of their total lending in 1999. In 2000, the nonperforming loan rate for the major commercial banks in China stood at 29 percent, according to official statistics and in the view of many Western analysts who questioned Chinese accounting standards, it was probably far higher. Nonperforming loans are defined as those on which repayments are more than three months in arrears.

‘The government vowed to bring the rate down to 15 percent by 2005, and by the end of 2007 it had dropped below 7 percent. One factor behind this reduction was the need for Chinese banks to attract investment from private and foreign sources.

‘This steep decline to single-digit levels would seem to tell a heroic tale of a banking system that solved its problems, but not all analysts take it at face value. Skeptics say the cleanup was largely based on sleight of hand, involving specially established asset management companies, speculative bonds and fuzzy government guarantees that together did little more than kick the problem down the road.

‘Even the least cynical analysts acknowledged that lower ratios partially reflected the dilution of bad loans in a vast sea of new lending, some of which would go bad but was still too recent to register as nonperforming.

‘Yet such doubts and qualifications notwithstanding, few deny that some degree of bad debt reduction was genuine and that overall loan quality among Chinese banks has improved from the worst of times.

‘Now, however, new concerns are emerging over the state of Chinese banks and their balance sheets. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, spoke publicly of such worries in early January, and hinted at a lending slowdown.

‘Large credit flows, “will not only go against the objective of economic structural adjustment, but will also pose bank lending quality risks,” Mr. Zhou said in a magazine interview.”

Note that the Bank of China said on Friday that it plans to sell up to Rmb40bn ($5.86bn) of convertible bonds toto boost its capital base and allow it to meet stricter regulatory and capital requirements following.In 2009,  Chinese banks lent a total of Rmb9,600bn, more than double the volume of new loans made in 2008.

Note also that the announcement came just after the authorities acted to check  surging loan growth by ordering some banks, including Bank of China, to temporarily suspend the granting of new loans.

As you will be aware, Beijing is worried about rising inflationary pressures and the  quality of new loans, the by-products of its expansionist economic policies.

Update 25/1/09

BOC  told analysts it may raise additional capital by selling new shares in Hong Kong, in addition to the U$5.9bn Chinese convertible bond sale.
.

CapLand: “But is he lucky”?

In China, Property, Temasek on 21/01/2010 at 6:50 am

Napoleon had many good officers. So when he was appointing generals, he asked, “But is he lucky?”. He knew the importance of chance in his success and at his last battle, Waterloo, his luck ran out. But as one of the generals who defeated him said, “It was a near-run thing”.

The question buyers of CapLand on Tuesday should be asking is whether the mgt of CapitaLand are lucky? Two days after anncing a US$2.2bn China property deal, https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/capland-getting-it-very-right-or-very-wrong/the Chinese authorities ordered a serious of credit tightening measures including ordering some commercial banks to stop lending for the rest of January. Global equity markets fell.

CapLand mgt could be lucky. Markets have a habit of shrugging off China fears. Remember the recent falls and recoveries?

But for the moment the seller’s mgt must be considered “lucky”.

NOL: Don’t buy it for the wrong reasons

In Economy, Investments, Temasek on 21/01/2010 at 5:27 am

NOL’s and other container lines’ shares are in demand, with the recovery in world trade expected to lift freight rates despite the surplus of ships. “[M]ore than a tenth of the vessels that transport the world’s manufactured goods in containers are idle. For most, orders to sail will not come for some time.”

(Aside, NOL tried not order new ships when David Lim returned to NOL, after a stint as an acting minister. He tot the other liners were crazy to order new ships despite a surplus. But in the end, NOL too joined in because the ordering frenzy continued. Sadly, it did so  juz before the market turned, but didn’t order as many ships as its bigger competitors, though as it ordered late, it paid higher prices.)

Buy into NOL because of its operational gearing into a recovery, not because it is a highly geared financial play into shipping (it isn’t) or because it can buy cheapish assets and gear up (it’s not a buccaneer).

Short of plans to buy assets, NOL did not need the S$1.4b in raised last year. NOL, which had then S$400m in cash reserves, would have almost less than 2% net debt (45% of equity at the end of 1Q of 2009) against container sector average between 60 and 6 then

NOL intended to use about S$700m  for investments and working capital, the remainder to repay debt.

So NOL was in a good position to buy ships at bargain prices from highly leveraged shippers in distress, and shipyards. And increasingly its gearing again in the process.

Imagine going into the next cycle with cheaply acquired ships and a gearing of 45%. Wow Bam. This didn’t happen. NOL is one of the most conservative container lines and took a higher proportion of its ships out of service than other lines to tackle over-capacity.

Moral of story –.

And one hopes it doesn’t try to fly by buying ships in a rising market.

There are the Greeks and Chinese buccaneers out there too on the prowl for ships. The only problem is they are geared above the safety lines on the sides of their ships. But in a rising market, they can borrow more. And a rising market means ship-owners and shipyards will be reluctant to sell.

(Writer has some NOL shares in his CPF portfolio.)

SIA Engineering financially engineered?

In Corporate governance, Temasek on 11/01/2010 at 3:43 pm

“A possible major catalyst for SIAE [SIA Engg] is if parent company SIA decides to divest its substantial ownership in the company as it did Singapore Terminal Airport Services (SATS) earlier this year. SIA currently owns an overwhelming 80.6% stake in SIAE,” says Kin Eng Securities.

My tots in mid June 2009:

SIA does in specie share dividend of SIA Engg saying:

“Distributing shares through an in specie dividend will unlock shareholder value by giving SIA shareholders direct ownership of SIA Engg at no cost to them …The proposed distribution will allow SIA to concentrate on its airline business, something advised by MM Lee in 2004 … SIA Engg will be able to independently pursue opportunities to aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul businesses. The Proposal will improve trading liquidity of SIA Engg shares, potentially enhancing value.”

Then after some time has passed

SIA Engg announces Acquisition of 100% of ST Aerospace from ST Engg

“Acquisition consistent with SIA Engg previously announced long-term strategic plan”

ST Aerospace is the “Largest aircraft MRO company by commercial airframe man-hours” and has “Strategic partnership with RSAF”

Rights issue with Temasek taking up its entitlement and prepared to subscribe for shares that other shareholders don’t want.

Remember you first heard it here. But based on the companies’ past performance, SIA Engg should only buy ST Aerospace, if the price paid reflected Aeo’s lower margins. SIA Engg’s margins are consistently better than those of Aero. EG In financial yr ending Dec 2008, Aero’s turnover was S$1.9b with PBIT of S$272m, while SIA Engg turnover was S$1.1b but PBIT of S$301m.

But what price another national champion? And financial engineering by Temasek?”

SATS — More Dividends or a Rights Issue?

In Investments, Temasek on 06/01/2010 at 5:20 am

Who will be right?

“Now that SIA has divested SATS, the company’s true value is more likely to be appreciated by the market. We estimate a surplus of $0.20/share that can be paid as dividends to shareholders if properties held at cost are sold and leased back,” writes Kim Eng Securities.

In mid-June 2009, I analysed SATs as follows:

Why new SAT shareholders should be grumpy

On May 14, SIA announced that it was going to distribute to its shareholders its 81% stake in SATS by way of a dividend in specie. Since then share price is up 5%.

This comes after SATS has become cash poor.

In January 2009, SATS launched a takeover bid for its Temask stable-mate SFI. According to the takeover documents, the pro-forma balance sheet as at September 2008 would have shown that the net cash position of the SATS (including SFI) group deteriorated to minus S$21 from S$528. In particular, cash in fixed deposits would have fallen from S$573 million to S$64 million.

But SATS needs cash because “SATS is committed to growing its 2 core businesses of airport and food services”. It could borrow big-time, pro forma net gearing is 0.04% from (0.35)%. But in Singapore, where debt is a dirty word in GLCs (NOL comes to mind), a rights issue is reasonably probable.

Temasek as the new controlling shareholder of SATS has $356 million from its sale of SFI shares to fund any rights issue. But do other new SATS shareholders have the cash?

Finally, looks like MM Lee gets his way. In 2004, he said SIA should divest itself of SATS and SIAEC. SIA’s management demurred. Will SAEC be divested despite SIA mgt saying last night that the SAEC holding is strategic? Stay tuned.

——-

Or will be both wrong, and CIMB prove correct? It doesn’t have any expectations of corporate activities, being underwhelmed by SATS.

A Contrarian Trade or Betting against SWFs?

In Energy, GIC, Temasek on 29/12/2009 at 5:43 am

Maybe it is time to buy the banks? Like John Paulson who is long BoA (Remember he correctly predicted the sub-prime credit crisis in 2007. That reaped him a US$3 billion profit.)

In a story from Fortune: “The next wave of sovereign wealth fund investments is likely to look very different from the flurry that occurred before the crisis. For one, the funds have drastically cut back on banking assets. Just 16% of the deals they made this year involved the financial sector, down from 48% in 2008, according to Barclays data. (Remember Temasek’s and GIC’s investments in Merrill Lynch (BoA), Barclays and UBS; and Temasek’s sales of BoA and Barclays.  GIC  only made wagga($) on Citi and it could get diluted there on its remaining holdings.)

And short or sell natural resources.

“Meanwhile, including China Development Bank, which received a capital boost from China Investment Corp., more than 50% of sovereign wealth funds’ investments were in the natural resources sector, up from a mere 8% the year before. Huey Evans points to the Chinese government’s investments in Rosneft and Petrobras (PZE), oil companies that agreed to send the country fuel in exchange for loans.”

Where GIC and Temasek gets their $

In Economy, GIC, Temasek on 26/12/2009 at 1:08 pm

“If Singaporeans are not “hard-driving and hard-striving”, where did GIC and Temasek get so much money to lose?”: a posting on a Temasek Review article.

Not quite correct because the money that GIC and Temasek invest comes from government surpluses. As about 43% of Singaporeans don’t pay income tax, this means that the surpluses are generated by being thrifty (government’s view) or mean (view of many netizens).

Economists in the private sector, and the Reform Party (the sec-gen was once an economist and he has a first-class degree from Cambridge) have argued that rather than accumulate large surpluses that are then invested abroad, the government should spend more building up Singapore’s human capital. By spending more on things like education, healthcare and consumer protection, the returns generated will be better than the returns on overseas investments.

This is an argument that has excellent academic credentials. China is often asked by eminent economists ,”Why do you export so much when you, in return, use the surplus lend to the Americans so that they can buy more from you?” The economists advise that China should invest more locally.

Now MM Lee’s view is that Singapore needs the reserves should anything go badly wrong. He could have quoted the example of Kuwait, which surprising he has not. When Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, the reserves were used to help pay for the war. And afterwards for the reconstruction of the country. He could have cited Iceland and Dubai (which again he hasn’t) as countries that got into trouble because they ran out of $.

BTW, one noted local economist has said that the government is effectively pocketing the difference between the returns it gets from investing abroad and the returns it pays on our CPF accounts: a carry trade arbitrage. Borrow low and invest for higher returns.

For the technically minded, our CPF monies are invested in special government bonds. The $ from the bonds flow into the government’s Consolidated Fund together with revenues from taxes etc. All government expenses are paid out from this fund. If there is a surplus (as there usually is)  part of that can go to GIC and Temasek. The government argues that because all the monies in the fund  is fungible (cannot be separated), one is wrong to argue that CPF monies are invested abroad.

Technically the government is correct, but so what is the retort? The financial effect is the same as if our CPF monies are invested abroad.

Finally, Singapore is unique among the countries with the largest sovereign wealth funds. The other SWFs are effectively funded from oil revenues. In the case of Singapore, it could be reasonably argued, by government critics, that the funding results from the “hard-driving and hard-striving” Singaporeans who are forced to save, and from less than optimal government spending.

So the quote at the beginning of this piece has elements of the truth.

Time to load up on oil-connected stocks? II

In Energy, Temasek on 09/12/2009 at 1:59 pm

A follow-up to comment on Temask selling its oil and gas E&P, Orchard, at the wrong time.  

“Oil prices have fallen for the fifth day in a row, weighed down by a stronger US dollar and amid concerns over demand.

‘US crude oil for January delivery fell $1.31 to settle at $72.62 a barrel.

‘In London, Brent crude fell $1.24, settling at $75.19.” — BBC Online report. $=US$

Remember as the price of oil falls, the more the financial pressure on smaller E&P outfits. The slowdown in bank lending doesn’t help their finances. They will be under pressure to sell stakes in their properties.

Temasek’s exposure to Dubai (Part 2)

In Temasek on 03/12/2009 at 3:53 pm

For those S’poreans who hate Temasek, forever gloating, whenever Temasek messes up, the pickings from Dubai are slim. The TLCs have tiny exposures there even CapitaLand and DBS, S’pore’s national champs active in the area.

Even Standard Chartered’s exposure to the part of Dubai World under restructuring, is according to the FT,  US$350m: peanuts.

Gd work Singapore Inc.

The TLCs went to where the $ were Abu Dhabi.

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