Temasek cut Alibaba stake in Q4 as shares of e-commerce giant rallied

Temasek Holdings sold 548,769 American depositary receipts in Alibaba, leaving it with 47.5 million.
Temasek Holdings sold 548,769 American depositary receipts in Alibaba, leaving it with 47.5 million.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Temasek Holdings Pte cut its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in the fourth quarter as the biggest Chinese e-commerce company's shares rallied.

Singapore's investment firm sold 548,769 American depositary receipts in Alibaba, leaving it with 47.5 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. The value of the holding increased by US$1.03 billion (S$1.44 billion) as the shares gained 38 per cent in the period.

Temasek also increased its stakes in pharmaceuticals maker Gilead Sciences Inc. by 1.4 million shares, and added 888,545 shares in BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., a maker of therapeutic enzyme products.

The firm made several new acquisitions, buying 6.6 million shares in Synchrony Financial, 6.1 million ADRs in Chinese online retailer JD.com Inc. and 8.2 million ADRs in Chinese online travel company Tuniu Corp.

Temasek reduced its stake in medical service provider Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc. to 639,172 shares from 4.1 million, according to the filing. The shares declined 1.3 per cent in the fourth quarter after almost doubling since they were listed in May 2013.

"Temasek is continuing its bet on technology and health care, which is part of their broader investment strategy," said Enrico Soddu, an analyst at Institutional Investor's Sovereign Wealth Center in London.

Alibaba shares fell to US$57.39 in September from a record high close of US$119.15 in November 2014. The company, founded by Jack Ma, raised US$25 billion in its U.S. initial public offering in September 2014, selling stock for US$68 each.

Temasek first invested in Alibaba in the fiscal year ended March 2011, buying S$50 million of the company's China registered shares. It later bought more stock from Alibaba employees, and boosted its holdings again in 2012 when Alibaba repurchased shares from Yahoo! Inc. and sold some to its existing shareholders. Temasek hasn't disclosed the amount of its holdings of the China registered shares.

The ADRs currently held by Temasek have been converted from its China registered shares.

Temasek also holds Alibaba ADRs through a unit called Seatown Holdings Pte, which cut its stake by 740,000 to 1.36 million in the fourth quarter, according to a separate filing earlier this month.