Temasek Posts 25% Return, Most in 11 Years on Equities Rally

by BLOOMBERG

Temasek Holdings Pte posted its biggest annual return since 2010 after the Singapore state investor benefited from a rally in global equities.

The 25% gain for the fiscal year ended March 31 marks a turnaround from the previous year, when Temasek reported a 2.3% drop after the pandemic triggered a market meltdown. Since then, equity markets have breached record highs as major economies start to re-open.

“We expect the global economy to recover steadily,” said Temasek International Managing Director Fock Wai Hoong, adding that the pace of recovery was uneven thanks to differing vaccine rollouts. “In addition, uncertainty remains around the virulence of new Covid-19 variants and there’s added geopolitical uncertainty as tensions continue between China and the U.S.”

Temasek joins other global funds and investors posting outsized gains as economies recover from the deep recessions of 2020. Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund booked a record 25% return on its investments for the year ended in March, while a Kuwaiti sovereign savings fund had a 33% gain over the same period.

Temasek’s net portfolio value stands at S$381 billion ($283 billion), up from S$306 billion a year earlier. China remains its biggest market with investments making up 27% of the portfolio, followed by Singapore at 24%. The Americas accounted for the largest share of new investments during the year, and now make up 20% of the portfolio. The firm’s 10-year annualized return rose to 7%.

“Last year because we have a March cycle, markets were down at the time, they’re in a better place now, so the public portfolio has done well,” Temasek International joint head of North America Mukul Chawla said. “But so have a number of our private companies,” as a number of those have benefited from public listings.

The improved performance comes despite several of Temasek’s best-known investments facing substantial hurdles. It’s had to buy billions of dollars worth of Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s convertible bonds amid a plunge in travel that led to a record loss of $3.2 billion last year. Still, the airline’s shares rebounded 37% in Temasek’s fiscal year.

Temasek also faces headwinds in China, where it’s focused on technology, fintech and wealth management. An expected windfall from its backing of Ant Group Co. failed to materialize when its listing was halted in November.

Temasek is also an investor in ride-hailing app Didi Global Inc., which saw its share price plummet days after it listed in New York when Chinese regulators ordered it off local app stores.

Investments in financial services including BlackRock Inc. and Visa Inc. now represent 24% of the portfolio, up from 23% in 2020, followed by telecommunications, media and technology businesses at 21%. Unlisted deals, which made up 48% of assets last year, now stand at 45%.

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