Singapore’s Temasek portfolio surges to record after market rally

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings reported a 25% rise in its portfolio value to a record S$381 billion ($282 billion) in the year ended March 2021, with gains powered by a global equities rally and the public listing of some of its holdings.

Ranked among the biggest investors in the world, Temasek is anchored in Asia, with 64% exposure to the region as measured by underlying assets of its portfolio companies, most of which are in China and Singapore.

The increase in its portfolio value was the highest in a decade and follows a 2.2% drop the previous year, with the state investor making record investments and divestments in the latest year, Temasek executives told a news conference on Tuesday.

“The pandemic has accelerated the longer-term trends that shape our investment posture. This is especially so for the digitisation trend,” said Mukul Chawla, joint head of Temasek’s telecoms, media and technology investments.

Chawla said the shift to working from home had generated demand for online services, payments, digital health and technology platforms, spurring some of Temasek’s privately held companies to go public.

Airbnb and food delivery business Doordash were some of Temasek’s portfolio companies that listed.

Diego Lopez, managing director of sovereign wealth fund tracker Global SWF, described Temasek’ performance as “very robust”.

He said that Temasek may not have benefited as much as some other global investors from the rally in U.S. equities among others because it is a more strategic investor.

The more than 50% rise in Temasek’s investments shows strength and the know-how to take advantage of opportunities in the market when they occur, Lopez said.

In Temasek’s Chinese technology portfolio, ride-hailing giant Didi Global and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) fintech affiliate Ant Group have become targets of regulatory clampdowns in recent months, but Temasek executives said this is unlikely to lead to a shift in strategy and Temasek remains optimistic on China and the companies.

“It’s not just in China that we are mindful of regulation and changing regulation. So I don’t believe it changes our stance on China in any way,” Chawla said. “We will continue to invest, we will consider regulation as it comes forth.”

Unlike many state investors, the majority of Temasek’s investments are in equities, with unlisted assets accounting for 45% of its total portfolio.

MSCI’s Asia shares ex-Japan index surged 55% in the year to March 31, 2021 and Singapore’s Straits Times index rose 28%.

The rally also boosted Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, which this month declared a record investment return.

Temasek’s key public holdings include DBS Group (OTC:DBSDY), China Construction Bank (OTC:CICHF), Alibaba Group and Standard Chartered (OTC:SCBFF).

Temasek’s one-year total shareholder return rose to 24.5% in the year to March, rebounding from a negative 2.28% a year earlier.

The Americas again accounted for the largest share of Temasek’s new investments last year, followed by Singapore and China.

($1 = 1.3505 Singapore dollars)

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