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Weekly investors roundup: GIC leads $135 million fundraiser for energy storage company Powin; Canadian fund Aimco to set up Singapore office for regional expansion

Singapore's GIC leads a $135 million fundraising round for US-based energy solutions firm Powin; Alberta Investment Management Corp is setting up its first Asian office in Singapore with an eye on Asian private equity; Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board will acquire a 70% stake in New Zealand's TowerCo; and more.
Weekly investors roundup: GIC leads $135 million fundraiser for energy storage company Powin; Canadian fund Aimco to set up Singapore office for regional expansion

TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK:

Global energy storage solutions provider Powin has announced a $135 million growth equity investment led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, with participation from existing investors, according to a company statement on July 14.

The Oregon-headquartered company did not disclose its valuation and the total amount of funding it has raised so far. In February 2021, Powin received more than $100 million in equity funding from Trilantic Energy Partners North America and Energy Impact Partners, which also took part in the current round. 

Powin has grown rapidly in recent years, building a 10 gigawatt-hour energy storage business despite supply chain disruptions, an uncertain regulatory environment, and the rising cost of capital, the statement said

Energy storage technology is set to play a pivotal role in the transformation of electrical grids and global decarbonisation due to the rapid expansion of renewable energy. The investment will scale Powin’s global manufacturing, further develop its suite of products, and support its relationship with international suppliers.

Source: Powin Yahoo News

Canadian fund Aimco is looking to establish a base in Singapore as the $129 billion fund targets further allocation to Asia private equity deals.

Alberta Investment Management Corp., known as Aimco, plans to increase its allocation to Asia-based investments and is looking at Singapore rather than Hong Kong for its first office in Asia.

Aimco manages funds for a number of pension plans and other government funds from its base in Edmonton, Alberta. The Canadian fund is planning to increase its exposure to Asian private equity, as the region accounted for just 2% of its $6.3 billion in total private equity deals for 2021.

Many of Aimco’s Canadian peers have established offices in Singapore, including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the Caisse de Depot et Placement and Omers.

Source: Bloomberg

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board will acquire a 70% interest in TowerCo, Spark New Zealand’s mobile towers business, for NZ$900 million ($555 million), according to a statement by the pension fund on July 11.

TowerCo is a leading New Zealand tower business with 1,263 sites.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Spark New Zealand has entered into a 15-year agreement with TowerCo (plus rights of renewal) to secure access to existing and new towers, with a commitment to build 670 sites over the next 10 years.

“The acquisition of a 70% stake in TowerCo is an ideal fit for our growing global portfolio of high-quality infrastructure assets. This investment builds on our long track record of investing in superior businesses in New Zealand and will draw on our deep experience investing in digital infrastructure businesses globally,” said Bruce Crane, senior managing director and head of Asia Pacific infrastructure and natural resources.

Source: Ontario Teachers

MORE INVESTMENT NEWS:

AUSTRALIA

Hesta has appointed Annette Beacher as an investment manager and market strategist. Beacher has more than 20 years of experience as a market economist for international investment banks in Australia and Singapore.

She has spent most of her career as a macro analyst at TD Securities where she served as head of Asia Pacific Research, and at Citi. She also worked as an economist and advisor to the likes of the Commonwealth Treasury, the Prime Minister’s department, and National Mutual Funds Management

Source: Financial Standard

Hostplus has announced a 1.57% return for its default balanced option amid a volatile market environment where institutional investors are expected to post losses.

The superfund attributed its achievement to active management strategies and diversification.

“Actively managing and applying a strategic asset allocation to perform under different market conditions enables us to smooth out returns over the longer term, as opposed to some of the lower cost, passive products in the marketplace where investors are more exposed to market movements,” chief executive David Elia said.

Source: Hostplus

CHINA

Barclays is seeking a Chinese banking partner to set up an asset management joint venture in the country, two people with knowledge of the matter said, as part of the British lender's plans to expand its footprint in the world's second-largest economy.

Barclays' majority-owned China asset management venture will be set up via its unit Barclays Investment Managers, which currently has operations in Europe and Japan, the people said.

If successful, Barclays will join a string of other Western financial firms that have started or are in the process of launching operations in China's lucrative $4.3 trillion bank-dominated asset management market.

Source: Reuters

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will establish its first overseas office in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), pending the finalisation of the formal agreement in the coming weeks.

The bank said its rapid growth is the catalyst for opening an office that helps bring it closer to its clients and to the front lines of its business. The UAE has been designated as the preferred location for the hub because it best fits the bank’s selection criteria, in particular, the superb connectivity to its global membership, it said in an announcement on July 7.

Starting with 57 founding members in 2016, AIIB now has a total of 105 members. It has developed a portfolio of 181 projects in 33 member countries with a total amount of $35.7 billion to date.

Source: AIIB

HONG KONG

The Hong Kong government will station an officer in Brussels, the home of the European Union, to encourage European family offices to invest in the city and use it as a gateway to the Greater Bay Area.

It marks the latest effort by the government to promote the city as a hub for family offices, a goal put forward by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in his budget speech in 2021.

“Family offices here in Europe have a great interest in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area,” said Eddie Cheung, the head of the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office in Brussels, in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

Source: South China Morning Post

HSBC Holdings is set to speed up its exit from non-core markets and deploy additional capital in Asia, in a bid to push back against a breakup proposal put forward by its biggest shareholder, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Ping An Insurance Group had called on the bank in April to explore strategic options such as spinning off its mainstay Asian business to unlock greater shareholder value.

In response, HSBC hired advisers including London-based investment bank Robey Warshaw to assist in a review of its strategy but has not directly commented on Ping An’s demands. The outlines of its plan to push back are the result of that review, according to the sources.

Source: Reuters

INDONESIA

Indonesia’s fund management industry assets fell 5.35% in the first six months of 2022 as foreign investors pulled out of emerging markets in favour of US bonds as the US Federal Reserve hike interest rates to rein in soaring inflation.

The industry had 548.48 trillion rupiah ($36.66 billion) of assets as of end-June, down from 579.93 trillion rupiah at the end of 2021, according to the latest figures published by the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia.

The decline was primarily due to foreign investors cutting exposure to emerging markets to move into safe-haven assets, according to a fund manager at an Indonesian fund management company.

Source: Asia Asset Management

INTERNATIONAL

Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) has bought another 10% stake in India’s Apraava Energy from Hong Kong power company CLP Group for $83 million.

Following the purchase, CDPQ and CLP are now equal partners in the Mumbai-based renewable energy firm.

The Canadian fund’s latest move reinforces both parties’ joint commitment to “supporting the acceleration of the transition to a greener economy in India,” according to a statement on July 12.

CDPQ, which has $322 billion in assets under management as of December 2021, first became a shareholder in Apraava in 2018 when it bought a 40% stake from CLP for an undisclosed sum.

Apraava has a portfolio of wind and solar energy projects across seven states in India.

Source: CDPQ

PHILIPPINES

State-run pension fund Social Security System (SSS) has paid a record 1.1 trillion pesos ($19.5 billion) in benefit payments to its members, pensioners and other beneficiaries between 2016 to 2021, a company statement said on July 15.

SSS president and chief executive Michael Regino said the benefit payments for the six-year period to 2021 almost doubled the 550 billion pesos paid between 2010 to 2015.

Regino said the improvement in benefit disbursements is largely attributed to the reforms implemented in the past years. These include the Social Security Act in 2018, the Expanded Maternity Leave Law in 2019 and the additional P1,000 benefit pension grant which started in 2017.

Source: The Philippine Star

SINGAPORE

Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC has agreed to invest Rs 2,800 crore ($351 million) in the Bhartiya Group’s commercial project in Bengaluru, according to a report by the Economic Times on July 14, quoting sources familiar with the deal.

The deal will see GIC pick up 3 million square feet of commercial assets in Bhartiya City, a 125-acre township project, along with some revenue from its facility management business, said the report, adding that a "definite agreement between both parties was signed this week".

The Bhartiya Group will use the money to repay part of its debt on commercial property that houses firms like IBM and Infosys. GIC's interest in the Bengaluru project was first reported in February when the two parties initiated discussions.

Source: The Economic Times

The Harvard University's endowment fund is opening a Singapore office to expand its portfolio in the region, according to sources familiar with the development.

The University has so far completed at least five start-up investments in Southeast Asia, said a  DealStreetAsia report, quoting the sources. 

They include educational technology company Leap Technologies, B2B e-commerce company Moglix, fintech Fazz Financial, stock investing platform Stockbit and logistics company Shipper.

According to the US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, the Harvard Management Company controls the world's third-largest endowment fund after Ensign Peak Advisors and the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The Harvard University's latest financial report showed that the fund's value stood at $53.2 billion, reaping a return of 33.6% for the fiscal year ended June 2021.

Source: DealStreetAsia

TAIWAN

The Bureau of Labor Funds (BLF) is shoring up its risk management capabilities and adopting a prudent asset allocation approach amid rising volatility in financial markets.

According to Deputy Director General Liu Li-ju, the BLF is finding it tougher to define its long-term portfolio allocation plans because of market uncertainties such as the war in Ukraine and rate hikes by global central banks to fight inflation.

To cope with the fast-changing environment, she says the BLF has developed a “comprehensive” risk assessment, supervision and reporting system. It has also set up a dedicated risk management team to assess risk exposure for outsourced asset managers.

Source: Asia Asset Management

The Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) has hired four firms from Europe and the US for its first investment tender of the year, a $1 billion global environmental, social and governance equity mandate.

The winning bidders are Germany’s Allianz Global Investors, the UK’s Schroder Investment Management, the US fund house State Street Global Advisors, and the UK unit of JP Morgan Asset Management. They will be appointed for five-year terms.

Source: Asia Asset Management

 

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