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Weekly investors roundup: Singapore's GIC buys Australian student dormitories for $411 million; China's Sunshine Insurance looking at blockbuster listing in Hong Kong

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC takes up 49.9% stake in Wee Hur’s student housing portfolio in Australia; China's Sunshine Insurance reportedly looking to list on HKEX in potentially the largest IPO of the year; New China Insurance issues a warning that its first-quarter profit might decline 70%; and Temasek sends stern warning on corporate governance to portfolio companies; and more
Weekly investors roundup: Singapore's GIC buys Australian student dormitories for $411 million; China's Sunshine Insurance looking at blockbuster listing in Hong Kong

TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK:

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has bought a half share of an Australian student housing portfolio from Wee Hur for A$568m (411 million) through its affiliate Reco Weather Private.

The listed Singaporean developer Wee Hur said Reco is buying the 49.9% stake in the Wee Hur PBSA Master Trust which held the student housing assets. Wee Hur will retain the remaining 50.1% stake. The company said the valuation of the transaction was 2.8 times the current value of the assets on Wee Hur’s books.

The Wee Hur PBSA Master Trust was created in 2016 to undertake the development of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) in Australia, with the aim of building a portfolio of up to 5,000 beds in major Australian cities.

Source: IPE RA   Wee Hur

China’s Sunshine Insurance has applied to list in Hong Kong and may seek to raise up to $2 billion, which would make it a frontrunner for the biggest initial public offering of the year so far, according to two sources familiar with the deal.

The mainland Chinese insurer has submitted its application documents, which do not reveal the size or likely time frame of the IPO. However, the sources told the Post that the company would like to list its shares this year and raise between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Source: SCMP

New China Insurance (NCI), has issued an earnings alert, warning that its estimated net profit attributable to shareholders for the first quarter of 2022 would be around 1.26 billion yuan ($194 million) to 1.89 billion yuan.

This estimated net profit is down by an amount of around 4.41 billion yuan to 5.04 billion yuan, representing a decrease of around 70% to 80% as compared to the corresponding quarter in 2021, says NCI in a stock exchange filing.

NCI says that the estimated decrease in the 1Q results of 2022 is mainly due to the comparison with the high net profit in the corresponding quarter of 2021. The under-performing capital market had also resulted in lower investment returns in 1Q2022 compared to 1Q2021.

Source: Asia Insurance Review

Temasek Holdings and Sequoia India have sent a strong reminder to the start-ups in their venture capital portfolios that they must abide by good corporate governance.

The move follows the recent suspension of Ankiti Bose, chief executive of Singapore-based start-up Zilingo, a technology and e-commerce platform for the fashion industry that achieved unicorn status after raising $150-200 million in its latest round.

She was suspended after auditors raised red flags about the firm’s accounting practices. There are no details of the ongoing investigations.

In a strongly-worded statement, Temasek said: “We expect our portfolio companies to abide by the sound corporate governance and codes of conduct and ethics. We are, therefore, in support of the board’s investigation into the complaint as a part of good governance to safeguard the interests of the company.”

Source: Citywire Asia

MORE INVESTMENT NEWS:

AUSTRALIA

Australian super fund Hesta and sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are part of a consortium led by KKR to acquire Ramsay Health Care for A$20.1 billion ($14.4 billion).

Hesta chief executive Debby Blakey said that the investment has potential for long-term success because of continued enhancement of Ramsay’s high quality of healthcare.

The deal would be one of the biggest leverage buyouts in Australia’s history. The offer values the company at a 37% premium on the firm’s closing share price last week.

Source: Hesta, Financial Times, Australian Financial Review

CHINA

China’s State Council has officially launched the country’s private pension system to allow its aging population to voluntarily contribute up to 12,000 yuan ($1,830) per person per year to the fund to invest in various financial products.

Personal assets allocated to private pension plans are subject to tax relief. The plan will be trialed in designated cities for a year and then expanded gradually. This was announced by the State Council in the Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Promoting the Development of Private Pensions published on April 21.

The launch of the private pension fund is seen as a significant third pillar of China's ambition to develop a “three-pillar” pension system, which has until now been dominated by the national pension fund.

Source: State Council

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) has called on the banking, insurance, and asset management industry to increase investments in highways in support of the country’s transportation development.

Both foreign and domestic banks as well as asset management and life insurance companies are encouraged to provide commercial financing support for highway development, the regulator said in an advisory published on April 20.

Transportation authorities in the country should also create a conducive investment and financing environment for highway development, it said.

Source: China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission

INDONESIA

OCBC NISP Ventura (ONV), the corporate venture capital arm of Indonesia’s Bank OCBC NISP, plans to invest in five to six startups this year, with a ticket size of up to $3 million each, according to a senior executive.

Daryl Ratulangi, managing director of ONV said that the firm will target companies in pre-seed to Series A stages in embedded finance — the application of fintech to non-financial platforms.

The firm will look for investments in startups that have applied fintech to segments such as property, logistics, media, health, education, data analytics, e-commerce, and on-demand services.

Source: DealstreetAsia

INTERNATIONAL

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPPB) is investing up to US$175 million in a portfolio of roads in India owned by US private equity firm KKR, a joint statement by the two companies said on April 20.

This will be the Canadian pension fund’s third infrastructure investment in India. The portfolio comprises 12 road assets, including toll and annuity roads spanning more than 910 km across 11 states. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval, according to the statement.

The move comes after the pension fund – which has C$241.6 billion of net assets as of December 2021 - acquired a 25% stake in National Highway Infra Trust from the National Highways Authority of India for C$248 million ($198.42 million) last November, more than two years after becoming an anchor investor in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of India with an investment of $1 billion.

Source: KKR  Asia Asset Management

Finland’s pension insurance company Varma has picked Nomura to run the €300 million ($321.6 million) Japanese equity fund with an ESG focus.

The ETF strategy is a low-emissions fund that was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on 8 April 2022, with German indices provider Solactive helping to tailor its underlying index to Varma’s preferences.

The pension insurance firm said it is the largest-ever responsible investment ETF to be listed in Japan. The fund invests in approximately 100 large and mid-sized Japanese companies selected according to strict sustainability criteria. Among the investee companies are pharmaceutical company Takeda, Daikin Industries, Hitachi, Toyota and video game company Nintendo.

Source: Citywire Selector

KOREA

Korea Post has hired four asset managers for its first tender of 2022 - a domestic equity fund mandate of unspecified value - almost two months after calling for bids.

The winning bidders are local firms KB Asset Management, Samsung Asset Management, and Hanwha Asset Management, and a joint venture - NH-Amundi Asset Management - between Korea’s Nonghyup Financial Group and France’s Amundi, according to the government postal agency’s statement on April 18.

The investment is for the agency’s insurance unit and is benchmarked against the KOSPI Total Return Index. Korea Post, which has around 150 trillion won (US$122.4 billion) of total assets, does not have a practice of announcing tender results publicly.

Source: Asia Asset Management

MALAYSIA

Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah is banking on investments in real assets and healthcare to help ride out the inflation that is forcing central banks around the world to raise borrowing costs and eating into longer-term returns.

“Inflation remains the biggest risk,” said its managing director Amirul Feisal in a Bloomberg TV interview on April 21. “Inflation is on the top of people’s minds at the moment,” and how governments and central banks react to it.  

The RM86 billion (US$20 billion) fund has taken steps to build positions that can benefit during a period of uncertainty around the speed of monetary policy tightening, he said.

Source: Bloomberg

Malaysian unicorn Carsome is reportedly seeking to go public through a dual listing on Nasdaq and the Singapore Stock Exchange that would value the company at around $2 billion.

The used car marketplace has confidentially filed for the IPO with Nasdaq already, according to a report from DealstreetAsia, citing people familiar with the matter. The listing, which is said to be aimed at raising $400 million, was reportedly encouraged by one of Carsome’s key investors, 65 Equity Partners, a unit of Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

The company became Malaysia’s largest tech unicorn after it received $170 million in a funding round that lifted its valuation to $1.3 billion last year.

Source: Forbes DealstreetAsia

SINGAPORE

KKR has announced the completion of its acquisition of Twenty Anson, a prime-grade office building in Singapore’s central business district (CBD).

The transaction, announced in a company statement on April 18, marks KKR’s first real estate office investment in Singapore. KKR paid Boston-based fund manager AEW S$600 million (US$440 million) for the building, according to the Business Times. A KKR spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by AsianInvestor.

Completed in 2009, Twenty Anson is a 206,163-square-foot commercial building that sits at the nexus of multiple new office, hotel and retail, and residential developments, and is situated near public transportation networks. The prime-grade asset is also recognised for its green credentials, having attained both LEED Certified Gold and the BCA Green Mark Platinum certifications.

Source: KKR  Business Times

Crown Digital, a Singapore-based tech start-up behind Ella the robot barista, has raised S$5 million (US$3.66 million) from investors, including Temasek’s Heliconia Capital, as it looks to open outlets across the city-state.

Momentum Venture, the venture arm of SMRT, ParticleX, Leave a Nest, Gloca Link and M4ever also backed the latest funding round. The capital raise will be used by the firm to grow its team, accelerate deployment across Asia, and develop new capabilities and concepts.

In March, the start-up launched a new automated sandwich café Bytes Station at Singapore’s central Raffles Place MRT station. It will launch similar robotic coffee and automated café concepts across 29 MRT stations in Singapore,

Source: Citywire Asia

TAIWAN

Taiwan’s financial regulator is expected to prohibit insurance-linked products (ILPs) from investing in high-yield bonds to reduce risk, a move that is likely to force insurers to shift billions of dollars into other investments.

The proposal was announced at a parliamentary finance committee meeting with officials of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) on April 11. The FSC is expected to discuss the proposal with the insurance industry and announce the new regulation in June.

Source: Asia Asset Management

Fubon Life Insurance is set to commit up to $70 million to a new fund launched by Advent International, a global private equity powerhouse that manages $88 billion.

Already a limited partner (LP) in global investment firms KKR & Co and Tiger Global Management, Fobon Life Insurance’s commitment to Advent International GPE X-G Limited Partnership accounts for about 0.3% of the targeted fund size, per a disclosure with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Advent International, which first filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January about the launch of the new fund, has not publicly specified its fundraising target. Based on Fubon Financial’s disclosure, the fund aims to raise a staggering sum of over $23.3 billion.

Source: DealStreetAsia

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