Ho Ching suggests Temasek's portfolio value close to $300 billion estimates

Ho Ching said the audited portfolio performance should be finalised over the next couple of weeks.
Ho Ching said the audited portfolio performance should be finalised over the next couple of weeks.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Temasek Holdings' chief executive Ho Ching has not denied reports that the state investment firm had a portfolio value of more than $300 billion as at March 31.

Instead, she noted in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening (July 7) that she was "impressed with the analyses" from reports that had speculated on Temasek's portfolio performance, and that the figures were "pretty close to (Temasek's) own management estimates".

Ms Ho, who is also Temasek's executive director, noted that the portfolio includes listed companies, as well as private companies that are bond issuers or that still report to their stakeholders; this means the public can estimate Temasek's portfolio value based on the public data available, she said.

Temasek also lists major investments in its portfolio every year, and tracking the performance of these investments would give a "pretty accurate sense of what's happening", she said. These major investments make up about 60 per cent of Temasek's total portfolio last year, she added.

Some people used “that data to work out that Temasek’s portfolio value would be north of $300 billion as at 31 March 2020”, Ms Ho said in her Facebook post. “The audited portfolio performance should be finalized over the next couple of weeks, and is unlikely to be very far from the above.”

In a previous post, she acknowledged that Temasek's portfolio was valued at $313 billion as at March 31 last year, with 74 per cent invested outside of Singapore. The firm has been in a net cash position since 2007 and 2008, just before the global financial crisis hit.

However, it has had to help a number of portfolio companies amid the pandemic.

Earlier this year, it fully underwrote an $8.8 billion rights issue by Singapore Airlines (SIA), of which it is the controlling shareholder. It took up its full pro-rata entitlement of 986 million rights shares as well as about $3.35 billion in mandatory convertible bonds issued by the national carrier.

Temasek announced last Thursday that it would release its annual report in September instead of July to accommodate the delay in consolidating financial reporting for its portfolio companies around the world.