Lanxess in talks with Singapore state funds

Thomson Financial
27 Feb 08

Lanxess AG wants to win a Singapore state fund as a new stakeholder, chief executive Axel Heitmann told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

“I have discussed this matter with Singapore’s state premier,” he said, adding he could very well imagine Asian state funds with good reputations investing in Lanxess.

Singapore state premier Lee Hsien Loong is also deputy chairman of state fund Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC).

According to the report, Heitmann is also planning to meet with representatives of Temasek Holdings, another Singapore-based fund.

The CEO stressed, however, Lanxess will not implement a capital increase to win new investors.

“If one of the state funds wants to invest in us, they will have to buy shares on the market,” Heitmann said.

Lanxess clarified it is not currently in any negotiations with GIC regarding an investment.

“In the context of the announced investment in a chemical facility in Singapore, there was among other activities a meeting with representatives of GIC,” Lanxess said in a statement, adding ‘the parties met as a courtesy’ and any other interpretation is ‘pure speculation’.

Lanxess announced yesterday it plans to invest about 400 mln eur in a new plant for the production of synthetic rubber in Singapore.

The project is Lanxess’ largest single investment since the German chemical company was spun off from Bayer AG about three years ago.

Germany’s Lanxess in talks with GIC on stake-paper
26 Feb 08

Chemicals company Lanxess is in talks with Singapore’s largest sovereign wealth fund about buying a stake in the German company, a German daily reported on Tuesday.

“I have spoken with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the issue,” Lanxess Chief Executive Axel Heitmann told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview to be published on Wednesday.

Loong is the deputy chairman of Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), which invests Singapore’s foreign exchange reserves.

His father Lee Kuan Yew is the chairman of GIC, which was set up in 1981 with assets of under S$10 billion ($7.12 billion).

Further talks between Lanxess and GIC management were scheduled, the paper reported.

Heitmann, who is travelling in Singapore, said he could “very well imagine” Asian state-owned funds with a strong reputation purchasing Lanxess shares.

“For me the quality of the fund is decisive,” he continued adding: “The size of the individual stake is not a priority.”

Heitman said Lanxess would also speak to Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL] as soon as possible.

“If one of the two state-owned funds wants to buy a stake, it will have to purchase shares in the market,” Heitmann said.

Temasek Holdings, headed by the prime minister’s wife, Ho Ching, has an S$164 billion ($116.8 billion) portfolio.

Reporting by Nicola Leske; Editing by David Cowell

Lanxess denies talks with Singapore’s GIC on stake
27 Feb 08

Lanxess AG said on Wednesday it was not in talks with the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) over a possible investment by the sovereign wealth fund in the chemicals company, refuting a German newspaper report.

In an interview to be published on Wednesday, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Chief Executive Axel Heitmann as saying that Lanxess was holding discussions with Singapore’s largest sovereign wealth fund about buying a stake in the German firm.

“There are no negotiations between Lanxess and GIC,” Lanxess said in an emailed statement.

“Reports that Mr Heitmann wanted to speak with the Singapore industry fund Temasek Holdings as soon as possible are incorrect,” the statement added.

Lanxess said Heitmann met with representatives of GIC “as a courtesy” following its announcement on Tuesday that it would build a new rubber plant in Singapore worth 400 million euros ($585 million).

“Any other interpretation of this meeting is pure speculation,” the statement said. 

Reporting by Jennifer Tan, editing by Neil Chatterjee