Monday, March 14, 2005

Temasek in the news 

Looks like Singapore doesn’t have to go into biotechnology to create clones.

The Singapore Clones
If copying is the most sincere form of flattery, Singapore should be red in the face. Its Temasek Holdings was once a novel experiment: a state investment fund that molded renowned brands, like Singapore Airlines and SingTel. In recent years, as Temasek began to invest abroad, it was at first greeted by neighbors like Malaysia and Indonesia as an unwelcome foreign intrusion. But now several Asian states, including these detractors, are more or less openly trying to copy the Temasek model.

At a time when much of the world is questioning the free-market ideal, the appeal of a quasi-public investment vehicle is clear. It gives Asian political leaders a proven mechanism for directing investment and shaping national industrial champions. Taiwan has plans to consolidate some $31 billion in state shares into a holding company modeled on Temasek. Indonesia is considering a similar idea to reorganize and improve the efficiency of some of its state giants, like the oil and gas company Pertamina. And while Malaysia would never admit to following the lead of its neighbor and rival, economists say the recently reorganized Khazanah, the national investment agency, looks like a carbon copy of Temasek in its early days...
In the meantime, Temasek itself appears to have moved on beyond its national borders.

Singapore’s Temasek emerges as an Asian powerhouse after regional expansion
Singapore’s Temasek Holdings is stamping its mark as an Asian powerhouse investor after a trailblazing multi-billion dollar shopping spree in the region over the past two years, analysts say. Temasek, which has interests in everything from banks to telecoms, airlines to energy firms, is now a major presence in the region, stretching from closest neighbour Malaysia to China and India.

Almost half of Temasek’s portfolio, worth 90 billion Singapore dollars (55 billion US), is invested overseas with many of its foreign interests acquired over the past two years, company spokeswoman Rachel Lin told AFP...
According to the AFP report, Temasek’s portfolio is worth US$55 billion. Interestingly, American billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway has US$43 billion that it is trying to invest but has trouble finding good buys.

No Companies to Buy in 2004, Buffett Says
The mighty billionaire Warren Buffett says he has “struck out.” The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. wrote in his annual report Saturday that he had hoped to make several multibillion-dollar acquisitions in 2004. He certainly had the money, so the problem? None to buy, he said.

“I found very few attractive securities to buy,” Buffett wrote in his company’s 40th annual report. Berkshire ended the year with $43 billion of cash equivalents, something he called “not a happy position.”...
If he raised a little more cash, Buffett could buy up Temasek and save himself the trouble of looking for any further acquisitions.

Maybe Buffett could help Temasek improve its investment performance (see my earlier post on Temasek’s performance).


Post a Comment

<< Home