Weekly investor roundup: GIC, APG invest $1 billion in Dutch hotel chain; AIA 'cautiously optimistic' about China tech

GIC, APG and KRC Capital invest $1 billion into CitizenM, a lodging company in the Netherlands; Mark Konyn of AIA says there are opportunities in China's tech sector; Singapore's MAS to pilot green digital platforms; Taiwan's BLF hires six local and foreign asset managers for CSR mandate; and more.
Weekly investor roundup: GIC, APG invest $1 billion in Dutch hotel chain; AIA 'cautiously optimistic' about China tech


GIC, APG and KRC Capital have invested $1 billion into CitizenM, a lodging company in the Netherlands.

The company plans to use the funds to build new hotels, complete projects already in the pipeline and make up for revenue lost during the pandemic, the firm said in a statement. 

CitizenM has a portfolio of 24 hotels and aims to open 40 or more new outposts by the end of 2024. 

Source: Commercial Observer

AIA remains cautiously optimistic on parts of China’s tech sector, according to the asset owner’s chief investment officer Mark Konyn.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Konyn said it has been an interesting period for investors that have China in their portfolios and many of these institutions have been surprised by the impact that top down policy can have on equity markets.

Despite the “steep cyclical slowdown overall” he says there are still opportunities in China, particularly in certain aspects of the tech sector.

“I don't think it's a case of leaving the sinking ship. I think there are many opportunities and we're allocating capital quite constructively,” said Konyn. “But we're taking our time as we move through this downward cycle. I think economic results are going to continue to disappoint and we're gonna see a policy response at some point.”

Source: CNBC

Singapore’s central bank is partnering with the financial industry to pilot four green digital platforms that aim to address the need for good quality data on sustainable investing.

The platforms comprise a common disclosure portal, a data orchestrator, an environmental, social and governance registry, and a marketplace to connect green technology providers in Singapore and the region with investors, venture capital firms and financial institutions.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) says difficulty accessing “high-quality, consistent and granular sustainability data” is a key challenge in sustainability financing.

“Addressing these data gaps will enable financial institutions to direct capital towards sustainability projects in a more scalable way, effectively monitor their sustainability commitments, and quantify the risks and real-world impact of their portfolio,” the central bank says in a statement on November 9.

Source: MAS

Taiwan’s Bureau of Labor Funds (BLF) has hired six local and foreign asset managers for a NT$48 billion ($1.73 billion) corporate social responsibility absolute return domestic investment mandate.

The Taiwanese firms are Cathay Securities Investment Trust, Fubon Asset Management, and First Securities Investment Trust.

The foreign firms are Nomura Asset Management Taiwan, Allianz Global Investors Taiwan, and PGIM Securities Investment Trust Enterprise.

The funding will be split equally among the firms, with each managing NT$8 billion.

BLF opened the tender on September 17 and announced the winners in a statement on November 4.

Source: Asia Asset Management; BLF



Sunsuper has awarded State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) with its $20 billion passive investing mandate, replacing Vanguard Australia.

The announcement came after Vanguard said it would not manage super fund mandates as it will be launching its own superannuation offering.

The mandate covers Sunsuper's passive strategies in equities, listed property and fixed income both in Australia and globally.

Source: Financial Standard

The A$230 billion AustralianSuper will push ahead with a merger with the A$7.4 billion LUCRF. Australia's largest super fund also announced a new board member and chair of its investment committee.

The merger will be completed by the end of the 2021/2022 financial year and LUCRF members will be transferred to AustralianSuper.

The fund also announced that Philippa Kelly has replaced Jim Craig on its board and as chair of the investment committee. Kelly was chief operating officer at the Juilliard Group and head of institutional funds management at Vicinity Centres. She is a director of oOh!media and Deputy Chancellor of Deakin University.

Source: Financial Standard, AustralianSuper


Ping An Insurance Group of China is reportedly looking to sell its 44% stake in auto services portal Autohome, in a deal that could fetch $2.15 billion.

The holder of the world’s most valuable insurance brand is currently the largest shareholder in Beijing-based Autohome. Ping An has recently held talks with several strategic and private equity investors about a potential sale, Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the situation.

Autohome, which acts as an online vehicle marketplace, is facing difficulties in its China business, due to the rising popularity of electric vehicles (EV). EV makers more often rely on their own distribution networks rather than dealerships for sales.

Source: Reuters


Asian insurer FWD Group, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, is contemplating shifting its $2 to $3 billion share sale from the United States to Hong Kong, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Hong Kong-based company, which filed confidentially in June for the New York initial public offering, is considering the switch amid delays by US regulators scrutinising the plan and lacklustre interest from investors.

An FWD spokesman declined to comment when asked by Reuters about a possible change in the listing venue.

Source: Reuters


GoTo, Indonesia’s biggest tech group has raised $1.3 billion in its latest funding round ahead of its planned public listing at the end of the year, with new investors including Fidelity International, Chinese buyout firm Primavera Capital and Malaysia's largest fund manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd.

Existing GoTo backers including Alphabet's Google , Tencent and Singapore state investor Temasek also participated in the funding. Last month, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority agreed to lead the pre-IPO funding with a $400 million investment.

GoTo was formed by merging ride-hailing-to-payments firm Gojek and e-commerce leader Tokopedia. The company expects more institutional investors to join the pre-initial public offering (IPO) fundraising round in the coming weeks. The company’s valuation now stands at around $28 billion following its latest funding round.

Source: The Business Times


Malaysia's largest pension fund plans to announce sector-specific policies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) for investee companies by the end of December, according to Chief investment officer Rohaya Yusof.

She said the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has identified three important sectors and issues.

“Hopefully by the end of the year, we will be able to announce them, and the market at large will understand our thinking on how we look at ESG in a particular sector,” she said at a webinar on November 9.

Rohaya said the pension fund is currently engaging with companies to understand how they are embarking on their ESG journeys.

Source: Asia Asset Management


Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC co-led an oversubscribed $125 million Series C round equity financing round in Stori, a Mexican fintech which aims to provide credit services and improve financial inclusion for more than 400 million people across Latin America.

With the inclusion of $75 million in debt financing, Stori’s latest funding round closed at $200 million and is one of the largest financing rounds ever in Latin America. The close of the Series C round brings Stori’s total funding to date to more than $250 million.

Over the next year, Stori plans to invest the $200 million raised in Mexico to triple in size and broaden its suite of products to address customers' needs and fulfil its mission of democratising financial access for millions of underserved consumers in the region.

Source: Bloomberg

Heliconia Capital, a unit of Singapore state investor Temasek, has invested $10 million into classified platform Carousell, at the same US$1.1 billion valuation of the startup’s funding round in September.

According to regulatory filings, Heliconia purchased over 577,000 shares of Carousell for US$17.30 each, via its vehicle Orchid 3 Investments VCC.

The new capital follows Carousell’s US$100 million fundraise in September, a round that brought its valuation to over US$1 billion.

Singapore-based Carousell operates in seven Southeast Asian countries, and is said to be eyeing a debut on the US stock market through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that could push its valuation to approximately $1.5 billion.

Source: The Business Times

Global investment company Temasek has partnered with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Singapore Airlines in a pilot initiative to trial the use of lower-carbon fuels called “sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)” to power airliners at Changi Airport.

SAF is not fossil-based, creates 80% less emission on a life cycle basis compared to conventional fossil jet fuels, and can be produced using sustainable feedstock such as cooking oil, municipal waste, or even non-biological resources like carbon dioxide.

The trial is based on a study done earlier this year by the Government and the aviation industry on the commercial viability and use of sustainable aviation fuels in Changi Airport. The pilot programme is set to run for one year and producers and suppliers of SAF have been invited to present their plans on delivering cleaner fuels.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore


Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) of the UK signed an agreement on Nov 12 to cooperate on green and sustainable investments in the UK, as KIC plans to enlarge sustainable investments in the European country.

Under the agreement, KIC will be provided with diverse support for developing its green financing capabilities and sourcing relevant ESG projects in the UK. KIC also plans to strengthen its London office for relevant ESG investing.

The cooperation follows recognition by the British and Korean governments at the just-concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), of their mutual interest in green and sustainable projects and ESG investment opportunities in the UK.

Source: KIC; AsianInvestor

Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) signed an agreement with the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) and the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives (NFFC) on Nov 11 to set up a $300 million joint venture for global hedge fund investments.

Under the agreement, KIC will contribute $150 million, while NACF and NFFC will contribute $100 million and $50 million, respectively, with their first co-investment expected as early as January 2022.

KIC will be leading the investment process, and this co-investment platform is designed to expand, allowing other domestic public investors to join. It plans to continue to work together with local institutional investors for co-investing in global alternative assets.

Source: KIC; AsianInvestor

National Pension Service (NPS) and New York-based real estate investment manager Tishman Speyer Properties have created the NPS-Tishman Speyer Thematic Platform, a $1.5 billion separately managed account (SMA) focused on investments in real estate innovation and high-demand asset classes across major US markets.

The partnership will focus on affordable housing, and the acquisition and development of life sciences real estate. It will also make investments in promising property-tech companies, especially at nascent stages of growth cycles.

Moreover, it will seed the creation of a new mezzanine lending arm within Tishman Speyer that will originate and acquire high-yield loans tied to various sectors of real estate in gateway cities and growing innovation markets.

Source: Tishman Speyer

National Pension Service (NPS) said on Nov 9 that it has selected four Seoul-headquartered venture capital companies, SL Investment, DSC Investment, Stonebridge Ventures, and Mirae Asset Venture Investment to manage its 150 billion won ($127 million) of investments in venture capitals.

NPS will commit 30 billion to 60 billion won to each venture capital firm, investing 40% or less of each venture fund's commitment.

Source: Korea Economic Daily

Korea Scientists and Engineers Mutual-Aid Association (SEMA) said on Nov 12 that it has invested $500 million in a joint acquisition of Vertical Bridge Holdings, a major operator of wireless communication infrastructure in the US.

The joint acquisition was led by DigitalBridge Group, a global real estate investment trust (REIT). Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) also invested in the acquisition.

Source: Korea Economic Daily

Korea Teachers’ Credit Union (KTCU) expects the pension fund to return 20% in its foreign equity portfolio. It also expects to gain over 100 billion won ($85 million) by the sale of the Alpharium Tower office building, a landmark in Pangyo, known as Korea’s Silicon Valley, in 2022.

In alternative investment, the pension fund has seen a 12.8% return as of the third quarter and will maintain the current 58% proportion till next year, while increasing allocation to both domestic and foreign stocks gradually, chief investment officer Kim Ho-hyun said.

Source: Korea Economic Daily

Korea Post has opened a tender for a 200 billion won ($169million) US bond mandate, structured as a commingled fund focusing on corporate real estate debt.

The fund has a 10-year investment period and the minimum targeted internal rate of return is 5%, the government postal agency says in a request for proposal on Nov 11. It will select one asset manager for a three-year term, which may be extended for another year, subject to performance.

Source: Asia Asset Management

Tong Yang Life Insurance has opened a tender for a global bond mandate of unspecified value, investing primarily in North American debt. It will appoint a manager for a one-year term, the insurer says in a request for proposal published on the website of the Korea Financial Investment Association on Nov 8.

The tender is open to domestic and foreign asset management firms. Foreign firms must have a Korean unit. Applicants must have a minimum one-year track record of managing bond-type funds, as well as a global bond fund portfolio of at least 10 billion won ($8.5 million).

Source: Asia Asset Management


The NZ Super Fund has committed US$100 million to the Fifth Wall Climate Technology Fund, which seeks to invest in new technologies to decarbonise the global real estate industry.

The investment follows the announcement by the NZ Super Fund last month that it would increase its investments in climate solutions as part of its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

Climate change is a significant and under-addressed challenge for the property sector, the fund said in a statement. In the US, for example, real estate is responsible for 13% of GDP, but 40% of carbon emissions.

Source: NZ Super


Taiwan-registered high-yield bond funds will have to be renamed non-investment grade funds for the Chinese-speaking market by mid-May 2022 to better reflect the risky nature.

The funds are currently known as high income bond funds, a description that can be misleading because it is silent on the underlying high risk.

The requirement to rename them was imposed by Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission, along with other measures such as adding a foreign exchange risk warning in the prospectus and know your products and know your customer rules, aimed at bolstering risk awareness among investors.

The new and old names for the high-yield funds can co-exist for one year until mid-May 2023, after which they must only be known as non-investment grade funds.

The change is unlikely to lead to immediate outflows from the funds, but it may discourage new subscriptions.

Source: Asia Asset Management

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